Septima P. Clark Papers, ca. 1910-ca. 1990

Septima P. Clark's 1964 black and white passport photo.

This collection contains material relating to the life and work of Septima P. Clark. The biographical papers include tributes, clippings, certificates, awards, family correspondence and transcripts of various oral history interviews in which Clark discusses her parents; husband; growing up and race relations in Charleston, South Carolina; her work in Citizenship Schools; her work at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and in the civil rights movement with people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Stokely Carmichael, Dorothy Cotton, Ella Baker, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, Hosea Williams, Ralph David Abernathy and others. There are a few references to the Charleston South Carolina Hospital Worker's strike in 1969. A series on her works includes a photocopy of her autobiography Echo in My Soul, with related papers; various versions of talks and essays on civil rights, race and racism, non-violence, God and religion, American youth, tributes to individuals and other topics.

Her correspondence includes numerous local and state black and white politicians; a partial letter to Ella Gerber regarding Porgy and Bess, a significant series of letters with writer Josephine Carson (Rider), and from Spelman College professor Vincent Harding, with some of his articles. Presidential materials include a photocopy of a Jimmy Carter letter; a letter from Gerald Ford; and an invitation to inauguration of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

A series documenting her affiliations begins with a her association with Charleston schools, and contains correspondence regarding losing of her job in 1956 as a teacher for being a member of the NAACP; her service (1975-1978) on the Charleston County School Board; and other connections with various educational endeavors. The series also includes papers regarding her association with the Highlander Folk Center; papers regarding her work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with material on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; papers regarding the Penn Community Center and Clark's relationship with it; publications, program materials and correspondence regarding Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and local Charleston Chapter, Gamma Xi Omega; materials regarding various women's groups with which she was affiliated; materials regarding various civil rights, African American and political groups and causes for which she worked; a list of grievances regarding the Charleston Hospital Worker's strike, brochures from various African American political campaigns, groups to free jailed African Americans; the US Commission on Civil Rights, State Advisory Committee of SC; Neighborhood Legal Assistance and other similar groups.

Her church papers include materials regarding Old Bethel Methodist Church, Charleston, SC, and other various Methodist groups, and her papers documenting her relationship with arts groups contain a nearly complete script of Sea Island Song by Alice Childress. Other materials documenting Clark's association with social, health care and literary-related agencies include papers regarding the Septima Clark Day Care Center, and papers dealing with the handicapped. Her relationships with various schools cover institutions such as College Seven, University of California-Santa Cruz, Benedict College and Hampton University, including student papers submitted at Hampton regarding Saxon Elementary School, Columbia, SC, and materials documenting unrest at Allen University, Columbia, SC, and at Voorhees College, Denmark, SC. Photographs show Septima Clark, Poinsette and Clark family members, various functions, programs and events participated in by Clark and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including teaching programs at various spots and the Charleston Hospital Workers' strike.

This collection was digitized and made freely accessible online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission


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