Join us as Dr. Crabtree shares her findings of her sabbatical research on Black Studies in recovering Black voices and their rights to privacy.
Conversation with Patricia Williams Dockery Septima, the play
Mar 22 at 5 PM Septima Clark Auditorium Conversation with Patricia Williams Dockery, about her new play, Septima, now at Pure Theater. Panel moderated by Theater professors Nakeisha Daniels and Gary Marshall.
The Reconstruction Curriculum Representative is coming to Charleston
Join E3 for an opportunity to hear directly from the Reconstruction team about their curriculum that provides live tutoring, K-12 supplemental and enrichment courses through an online platform that situates Black people, Black culture and Black heritage and contributions to America and the world in an authentic, identity-affirming manner.
Reconstruction is a unique, full-service curriculum company offering supplemental, live-tutored, virtual courses that situate Black culture and achievement in an authentic, identity-affirming manner.
“Reconstruction was created to show our kids that they are descendants of powerful, creative, and resilient ancestors whose contributions permeate every aspect of life across the globe; and that they too are called to contribute to this rich legacy. It’s the way we were taught as children. It’s the way we teach our children.”
Use this link to register for the virtual session on March 21, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.
A Critical Conversations event with Tamara Lanier on Repatriating Artifacts of North American Slavery on March 21st
Tuesday, March 21 5:30-7:00 PM
Septima Clark Memorial Auditorium (ECTR 118)
The Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston invites students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to attend a public conversation about repatriation of artifacts, archives, race, and justice. The conversation will feature the story of Tamara Lanier, whose fight against Harvard University for images of her enslaved ancestors Renty and Delia has been covered by numerous national and international media outlets including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Guardian, and Democracy Now! The event is free and open to the public.
Tamara Lanier gives voice to her enslaved ancestors whose naked or partially clothed photographs were forcibly taken in 1850 outside Columbia, SC for a Harvard scientist, Louis Agassiz, who supported racist theories of polygenesis. Lanier’s case foregrounds the need for legislation that protects the cultural property of descendants of chattel slavery in the United States. All are invited to witness Lanier’s inspiring story about the importance of her family’s history and its relevance to national discussions about slavery and reconciliation.
If you have questions about the lecture, please contact Mary Jo Fairchild at firstname.lastname@example.org.
College of Charleston brings Afro-Brazilian activist Vilma Reis on March 20th for a discussion on “Afro-Feminism and Resistance in Brazil”
Afro-Brazilian activist Vilma Reis on Monday, March 20 at 4 pm in the Stern Ballroom: “Afro-Feminism and Resistance in Brazil”
March 18: Black Resistance: Septima Clark Teaching Citizenship
Date: March 18, 2023
Time: 2:00 PM EST
Location: Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture | 125 Bull Street | Charleston, SC 29424
Description: Join us for a discussion on the importance of Septima Clark’s work and view some items from her collection at the Avery Research Center!
A Gullah Gallery: An Ode to Charleston’s Black History
When thinking about black history, we often reflect on those who came before us. In a city like Charleston, the spirit of the Gullah community is alive through everyday customs and practices that you may not have even known had originated from the Gullah people.
Early Origins of the Gullah People
The Gullah people are descendants of West Africans slaves who were located in the lowcountry region of South Carolina including its sea islands. Historians have linked Charleston’s Gullah ancestry to Bunce Island, Sierra Leone, and Angola. The culture and language of the Gullah people is a blend of West African and European practices. The Gullah language has been inaccurately referred to as broken English when it is actually an English creole language. They use their language to pass down folk tales to younger generations and to sing spirituals in order to preserve the Gullah culture. Before, during, and after slavery, this group of people worked mostly off the coast of the state in fishing and agricultural industries. The climate and environment of South Carolina is similar to that of West Africa so the Gullah community was very knowledgable on land cultivation.
Food for the Soul and the South
The Gullah people are responsible for Charleston’s rich food history. The city is known famously for its shrimp and grits, rice pilaf, and lowcountry seafood boil. Many of these dishes were both affordable and able to feed a family for the week when made in one pot. Oysters and okra soup are both dishes Charlestonians began to eat after the Gullah people introduced it to the community. When dining in the downtown area, it is easy to point out which meals had some African influence with southern flare. Next time you are hungry, we recommend you try these black-owned Charleston Gullah restaurants: Hannibal’s Kitchen, Bertha’s Kitchen, East Side Soul Food, and My Three Sons of Charleston.
African Artistic Roots
Pieces of the Gullah culture can be seen thoughout Charleston. Sweetgrass creations are sold in the city market in the style of baskets, roses, bags, etc. by the locals. Originally used as functional baskets to carry items and to minnow rice, the artistic skill of the Gullah people is a hot commodity for tourists and locals to collect. Local sweetgrass artist, Corey Alston (pictured above) is known for his beautiful craftmanship and his work is featured in the Charleston City Market and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Lowcountry artist Jonathan Green, grew up on the sea islands and reflected his Gullah upbringing through his art. He is known in the creative world as an important artist of the Southern experience. In religious spaces, the ring shout is practiced among the Gullah people and many black Baptist and Methodist churches throughout the South. Dancing, call and response singing, and percussive hand clapping made up the praise and worship services which paid homage to their African origins.
Celebration and Culture
The Gullah culture is celebrated in numerous ways across the Lowcountry. Every May, the city of Beaufort hosts The Original Gullah Festival with a weekend full of food, art, and workshops. Also in May, the Gullah Gala “Charleston Renaissance; Birth of Art,” will be featuring music, fashion, and local businesses at Founders Hall in Charleston, SC.
The Charleston Gullah community has preserved their African heritage and customs more than any other African American group in the United States. Next time you find yourself in the Charleston area, take time to attend a Gullah tour, eat at local soul food restaurants, and speak to the Gullah people in the market to learn more about the rich black history here in the holy city.
9 Facts You Should Know about Local Hero, Septima P. Clark
“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.”- Septima P. Clark
- She is a Charleston native
Septima P. Clark was born May 3, 1898 on Wentworth St. in the historic Downtown Charleston district. Born to a former slave and Haitian laundress, her parents strived to provide a strong foundation of learning for young Septima.
- Septima was a devoted educator
Clark earned her teaching license at the age of 18 instructing black children in John’s Island and downtown at the Avery Normal Institute (now the College of Charleston Avery Research Center). Additionally, she taught black Charleston locals how to read and write in order for them to vote by using Sears catalogs and household items to instruct her students. Septima continued her education and earned her bachelor’s degree from Benedict College (1942) and her master’s from Hampton Institute (1946).
- She was an activist for black teacher pay and teacher desegregation in Charleston schools
In 1956, Clark worked closely with the Charleston Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to fight for black teachers rights to equal pay and be allowed to work in South Carolina public schools. Although her efforts were successful that year, her teaching license was revoked due to her affiliation with the NAACP. Since she could no longer teach in SC, Clark moved to Tennessee and worked for the Highlander Folk School. She helped improve students’ literacy skills and led workshops in social justice/political engagement – Rosa Parks attended one of these sessions before being at the forefront of the Montgomery bus boycott.
- Clark was a key figure of the Civil Rights Movement
In 1961, Clark went on to work for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Ga. She was appointed as the director of teaching and education over its Citizen Education Program. Septima hosted workshops to prepare black Americans for protests and the polls. She believed that education was important for African Americans to progress forward in society. In this position, she played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement and was coined the “Mother of The Movement” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- She holds many accolades and awards
Clark moved back to Charleston and was elected to the Charleston School Board in 1975 and had her teacher’s pension reinstated after her wrongful termination decades earlier. The College of Charleston awarded Septima Clark with an honorary degree and received the Living Legacy Award under President Carter the following year for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. In 1982, she earned the highest SC civilian award, Order of the Palmetto.
- Septima Clark is a published author
Septima Clark wrote two memoirs, Echo in My Soul (1962) and Ready from Within (1986) to highlight her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and her platform of literacy, education, and political participation among African Americans. In 1987, her second book received the American Book Award.
- She has a school dedicated to her educational mission in Charleston
Clark’s legacy continues through the installment of Septima P. Clark Corporate Academy in 1990 which is an educational program that assists at-risk high school students in receiving their high school diploma.
- Clark’s life will soon appear on stage
Check out the upcoming play, SEPTIMA, commissioned by PURE Theatre and the League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area to learn more about Septima Clark’s contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. The play will run from March 9th to April 1st at the PURE Theatre in Downtown Charleston.
- The College will be celebrating the work of Septima Clark in new exhibition
The newly installed Septima P. Clark Memorial Auditorium will be hosting an exhibition in Clark’s honor Thursday, February 23, 2023 at 5:00pm. It will be held in the Thaddeus Street Jr. Education Center at the College of Charleston. To learn more about local hero Sepitma Clark and her impact in the Charleston community, check out The College’s exhibition website. https://ldhi.library.cofc.edu/exhibits/show/septima_clark