“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.”
“The air has finally gotten to the place that we can breathe it together.”
Septima Poinsette Clark was a South Carolina teacher who established “citizenship schools” that worked to help African Americans to register to vote in the face of massive voter suppression and restrictive voting laws. (Sound familiar?) When Clark first started teaching, Charleston public schools would not hire African American teachers so she had to become a teacher elsewhere, and later worked with the NAACP on a campaign to make Charleston end its discriminatory hiring policy. She also worked with the NAACP to get equal pay for white and black teachers, but was later fired from her public school job for her civil rights activism. Clark then became the director of education and teaching for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and during her term over 800 “citizenship schools” were created, empowering community members to teach others in their community basic math and literacy skills, and thus to pass the literacy test required for voting.