Septima Clark and the Citizenship School Movement Essay

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Citizenship Schools 2 Septima Poinsette Clark also known as the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement," (Crawford, 1993, p. 96) used education to empower others. Her life's work enabled many people in the segregated South the opportunity to learn to read and write so that they could fully participate in a democratic society by exercising their right to vote. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the philosophy of education of Clark and the events that shaped that philosophy. According to Max Hunter, (2011) "in 1954, Clark began teaching at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee where she developed…show more content…
Collins (n.d.) details in a timeline of the history of adult Citizenship Schools 3 education, Clark's birth date, founding of the Citizenship schools and her date of death ("Collins," n.d.). Unable to find work in Charleston, Clark made her way to Tennessee. She began attending and organizing workshops at Highlander. Then, in 1953, Clark became Education Director at the Highlander Folk School founded by Myles Horton ("Highlander Research," n.d.). Highlander's primary focus was to end segregation. According to the Highlander Research and Education Center (n.d.), the staff believed that "conquering meanness, prejudice, and tradition" formed the key components for "conquering poverty and winning progressive change throughout the region" ("Highlander Research," n.d.). At Highlander, desegregated classrooms brought blacks and whites together to learn how to organize and lead others back in their communities to overcome racial injustices. Many of the early civil rights leaders like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Andrew Young received their training from Clark at Highlander (Brown-Nagin, 1999, p. 81). During this period, Highlander placed its efforts on "desegregation, voter education, and voting rights" ('Highlander Research," n.d.). Clark recognized the importance

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