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"Mother of the Movement"

Wise words from Septima Poinsette Clark, educator and pioneering civil rights activist:

"I believe unconditionally in the ability of people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than believe, to inquire rather than to affirm" Determined to equip people to vote, Septima Poinsette Clark established "Citizenship Schools" and embraced interracial activism. One of the only women to break into the male echelon of the Civil Rights Movement, Septima Clark boldly stated that women being treated unequally was "one of the greatest weaknesses of the civil rights movement."

This landmark honoring Septima Clark is located at an intersection of the Septima P. Clark Expressway (part of U.S. 17). I visited it during a research trip to Charleston, South Carolina. It reads: Septima P Clark/Expressway/By Legislative Act/in 1978/Named in Her Honor/Community Leader/Educator/Civil Rights Leader/Dedicated 1978. A school and a park are also named for her. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Septima Clark "The Mother of the Movement."

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