Teacher, Advocate, Trailblazer: The Living Legacy of Septima Poinsette Clark

  • Lea E. Williams


Late in life, Septima Clark garnered accolades, tributes, and honorary degrees extolling her as a grassroots educator and civil rights champion. She had devoted a lifetime to teaching poor children and disaffected adults in rural communities in her native state of South Carolina and across the South. Septima illuminated the road to citizenship by pioneering innovative, practical approaches to adult literacy. The National Education Association (NEA) awarded her the H. Council Trenholm Humanitarian Award, its highest award.2 NEA had also supported her case for restitution of the pension denied by the Charleston public schools. In high praise, President Jimmy Carter bestowed the Living Legacy Award on the octogenarian Clark in 1979. In 1970, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), formed in the wake of the Montgomery bus boycott and for whom Clark worked as the director of its citizenship workshops, presented her with the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Great Service to Humanity.3


Corporal Punishment Benevolent Sexism Progressive Democratic Party School Desegregation White Teacher 
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© Lea E. Williams 2009

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  • Lea E. Williams

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