Drick's Reviews > Ready from Within: Septima Clark and the Civil Rights Movement

Ready from Within by Septima Poinsette Clark
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's review
Sep 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: race-ethnic-studies, history, biography
Read from September 05 to 10, 2011

Cynthia Stokes Brown conducted a series of interviews with Septima Clark in 1979 when Ms.Clark was 81 years old. In her own words Ms. Clark tells her life story especially her efforts to start the Citizenship Schools that taught people how to pass the literacy tests that would enable them to vote. Having served as a teacher in mostly rural schools for 40 years, at the age of 59 after being fired by the Charleston, SC school board for being a member of the NAACP in 1956, she went to work for Highlander Folk School that enabled her to begin the work she is best known for: the Citizenship Schools. However her concern for education, poverty and empowering people did not start then, but was a theme throughout her life, that was fulfilled in her work in the Citizenship schools. She speaks very candidly about issues such as the harshness of poverty and the sexism of the early Civil Rights Leaders, even as she speaks gracefully of the people in her lives. While this is not a difficult read, it takes you back into her life and gives a picture of what life in the segregated South was like, both the joyful and the tragic, the heroic and the hideous.

The book was not published until 1990, which is the only sad thing about it. Septima Clark died in 1987, and though she may have seen a manuscript she did not live to get the credit she deerved for empowering African-Americans to read and to vote.

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