The recently unveiled mural of Septima P. Clark in the Education Center at the College of Charleston will serve as a backdrop for a March 28 conversation on the civil rights icon’s life and legacy. A 7:30 p.m. panel discussion at the center will include five contributors to the book “Ukweli: Searching for Healing Truth” and an archivist from the college’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. Ukweli is a collection of essays and poems on the Black experience in America. Georgetown artist Natalie Daise created the 7-foot-high by 30-foot-long mural, “Saint Septima with Carolina Jasmine” in the center’s Septima P. Clark Memorial Auditorium. Unveiled on Feb. 23 in the auditorium’s foyer, the mural features Clark’s portrait in profile and a quote from a 1970 speech: “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 to believe, to inquire rather than to affirm.
Ukweli, is the Swahili word for truth. The book follows a 2020 poetry-lecture series at McLeod Plantation organized by poet Horace Mungin. He passed away before Ukweli was released in February 2022. The book is a collection of essays and poems from 49 contributors, including Mungin and co-editor Herb Frazier. Ukweli contributors Millicent Brown, LaTisha Vaugh and Karen Meadows will discuss their Ukweli essays and Clark’s legacy.
Brown is co-founder and project director of an oral history initiative to identify the “first children,” like herself, to desegregate previously all-white schools. LaTishais co-founder of E3: Educate, Empower, Elevate LLC, an organization that focuses on equitable outcomes for Black and brown children and families. Meadows, a high school counselor in Guilford County Schools, is an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Avery’s archivist Georgette Mayo will join them. Avery holds Clark’s personal papers.
Savannah Frierson, a Ukweli contributor and Avery’s office manager, will moderate the session. She and Marjory Wentworth, also a Ukweli contributor, will open and close the panel with Mungin’s poems from Ukweli. Wentworth teaches at the College of Charleston.
The event also provides an opportunity to premier a video that honors Mungin’s contributions to poetry and social activism. Charlotte filmmaker Steve Rutherford produced the seven-minute video as a tribute to Mungin, who started writing poetry in the mid-sixties during the genesis of the Black Arts Movement.
In addition to the Septima P. Clark mural, information panels in the Education Center present the periods of Clark’s life. Essays, interviews and a range of primary sources represent the online material the college has posted to tell Clark’s story as an educator and civil rights champion who Martin Luther King Jr. called the mother of the movement.
Join African American Studies affiliate faculty Dr. Nakeisha Daniel and Gary Marshall of the Theatre Department in a conversation with Dr. Patricia Williams Dockery, the former director of the Avery Research Center, regarding her play, Septima. Septima, currently showing at PURE Theatre, depicted the life of Septima Clark. Explore Dockery’s process for depicting Septima Clark on the stage and the importance of her life on African American life in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Social Justice Symposium will be the first event of the 4th Annual Student Diversity Conference (April 10th and 11th). The purpose of the Symposium is to feature the work of our students who have developed research or community-based projects that further social justice goals. The Symposium is free and open to the public. Dr. Hollis France (Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center) will serve as a discussant to raise comments and questions for the presenters and audience following the presentations.
Panel Presentation moderated by Ramon M. Jackson, University of South Carolina, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this panel discussion, moderated by University of South Carolina PhD candidate Ramon M. Jackson, local scholars and members of the 1955 Cannon Street Y.M.C.A. All-Stars will share their team’s story and discuss its legacy. Once described as the “most significant amateur team in baseball history,” members of this African-American youth baseball team were key figures in an adult-led direct action campaign to desegregate Little League Baseball in the American South. Nearly fifteen months after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that segregated schools were unconstitutional, Cannon Street Y.M.C.A. president Robert F. Morrison entered the All-Stars into the “whites only” Charleston Little League tournament. This action caused a “Civil War” within Little League Baseball, as teams in seven southern states seceded from the national organization and formed a segregated league known as “Little Boys Baseball” (Today known as “Dixie Youth”). Join us for a discussion of this powerful, often overlooked moment in the African American freedom struggle in South Carolina and the nation. To learn more about the Cannon Street All-Stars, visit: www.1955cannonstreetallstars.weebly.com
***Day after this presentation: Unveiling Ceremony for a Historical Marker for the Cannon Street All Stars, Thursday, February 19, 2:00 p.m., Harmon Field (Corner of Fishburne and President, across from Burke High School). Park at Arthur Christopher Gym, 265 Fishburne Street (This is also the alternative site in the event of inclement weather)
Stern Center 205
Co-facilitators: Carrie Ben-Yisrael and Kristi Brian
Wealthy or not, if you have ever been identified as a white person in the United States then chances are at least one form of privilege has been extended to you that people of color cannot easily count on. Learn how to use white privilege to take an effective stand against racism.
Main Campus – Stern Student Center
Name: Kristi Brian