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Septima Poinsette Clark historic marker unveilied Thursday

Thursday at 10 a.m., a historic marker will be dedicated to nationally known civil rights leader, education advocate, freedom fighter, and Charlestonian, Septima Poinsette Clark.

Clark contributed to the civil rights movement, by creating and leading the Citizenship School program, which educated nearly 10,000 African-Americans to pass discriminatory voting tests.


“Clark was a woman from Charleston who did not have to do anything, but she chose to do everything. She chose to speak out and demand equal treatment, she chose to educate others to stand up for their rights, she chose again and again to advocate for equity in every way. Her story is one of exceptional power, and we believe she is a figure who can motivate us all to search for our own ways to support equality in all things,” says South Carolina Teaching Fellow Aly Lain. 

Clark was born, at a location now embedded within the College of Charleston campus, on May 3, 1898.  A historic marker will be unveiled in front of her birthplace at 105 Wentworth Street.  Clark is buried in the Old Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery, just off Meeting Street, at Cunnington Avenue and Skurvin Street.


A portrait of Clark, by famed Charleston artist Jonathan Green, will be unveiled Thursday, at the College of Charleston’s Hill Gallery, on the first floor of the Cato Center at 161 Calhoun Street. The portrait reception is free and open to the public, starting at 4 p.m.

The portrait will ultimately be housed at the Avery Research Center, formerly known as the Avery Normal Institute, where Clark studied.

Language on the Historic Marker:
Septima Poinsette Clark, who Martin Luther King Jr. called “the Mother of the Movement,” was a nationally influential Civil Rights activist. She was born at 105 Wentworth St. on May 3, 1898, to Peter Poinsette, former slave, and Victoria Anderson, who was of Haitian descent. Clark earned her teacher’s certificate from Charleston’s Avery Normal Institute and her master’s from Hampton Institute. She taught for nearly 40 years.

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