Septima Poinsette Clark is born on the 6th of may, 1898 at Charleston South Carolina. Her father, Peter Poinsette, was born to be a slave on the Joel Poinsette farm between the Waccamaw River and Georgetown. After the Civil War, he got a job as a caterer. Her mother, Victoria Warren Anderson Poinsette, was born in Charleston but raised in Haiti by her uncle, who took her and her two sisters there in 1864. Victoria Poinsette had never been a slave. She returned to Charleston after the Civil War and worked as a launderer. Clark's mother did not work directly for whites, and refused to allow their daughters to work in white houses in order to protect them from sexual harassment.
Clark graduated from high school in 1916. Due to financial constraints, she was not able to attend college, but began work as a school teacher. As an African American, she was barred from teaching in the Charleston, South Carolina public schools, but was able to find a position teaching in a rural school district, on John's Island, the largest of the Sea Islands. During this time, she taught children during the day and adults on her own time at night. During this period she developed methods to quickly teach adults to read and write, based on everyday materials like the Sears catalog.
In 1919, Clark returned to Charleston to teach sixth grade at Avery Normal Institute, a private academy for black children. In Charleston, she began attending meetings of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Her first task with the NAACP was to knock on doors and ask people to sign petitions. One of the causes she petitioned for was to allow blacks to become principals in Charleston's public schools. The NAACP wanted to bring 10,000 signatures to the legislature. With the permission of the principal at Avery, Clark took her sixth graders out of class one day to help her collect signatures. In 1920, Clark enjoyed the first of many legal victories when blacks were given the right to become principals in Charleston's public schools.
Marriage and Children
In May 1920, Septima Poinsette married seaman Nerie Clark. The couple had a daughter who died one month after birth and also has a son, Neri Clark, Jr. The three moved to Dayton, Ohio, but after Nerie Sr. died of kidney problems in December 1925, Clark, struggling to support her son, stayed with Nerie's relatives in Dayton and Hickory, North Carolina. She settled in Columbia, South Carolina in 1929, and accepted a teaching position that year. During this time, Clark had trouble providing for Nerie, Jr. In 1935, she decided to send him back to Hickory to live with his paternal grandparents.
Death and legacy
Clark achieved a lot in her life and won lots of awards . Like the Marthin Luther King, Jr, award in 1970, U.S president Jimmy Carter awarded living legacy award in 1979 and drum major for justice award 1987. Clark had done successfully to let African Americans to teach in the city of Charleston and for the same amount of pay for both black and white teachers. In 1956, after forty years of being a part of the South Carolina School system, she was quit out of the job for refusing to give up her NAACP membership. Septima then started her 2nd career. 897 citizenship schools teaching literacy and voter education “in peoples kitchens, in beauty parlors, under the trees,” because of her hard work.