Freedom’s Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark
Thursday February 17, 2011
Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street
Katherine Mellen Charron, North Carolina State University
Charron traces the life of Charleston’s legendary Civil Rights activist Septima Clark from her earliest years as a student, teacher, and community member in rural and urban South Carolina to her increasing radicalization as an activist following World War II, highlighting how Clark brought her life’s work to bear on the civil rights movement. Drawing on autobiographies and memoirs by fellow black educators, state educational records, papers from civil rights organizations, and oral histories, Charron argues that the schoolhouse served as an important institutional base for the movement. Using Clark’s life as a lens, Charron sheds valuable new light on Southern black women’s activism in national, state, and judicial politics, from the Progressive Era to the civil rights movement and beyond. This book won the 2010 Julia Cherry Spruill Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians.