Septima’s Legacy

“I never saw her pass by someone who wanted to speak with her…She was always in the right place if you needed someone to talk to. I benefited a great deal by knowing her.” -Rosa Parks 1

Parks and Clark sitting

Rosa Parks sitting with Septima Clark

Septima Clark continued to champion Civil Rights work everywhere she went, even when she had multiple heart attacks late in her elderly years. In her lifetime, she received many awards  and recognitions, including the Race Relations award from the National Education Association in 1976, an honorary doctoral degree from the College of Charleston in 1978, and a Living the Legacy award from President Carter in 1979. In 1982, the state of South Carolina recognized her with the Order of the Palmetto, its highest civilian award. Clark died in 1987 and won the SCLC’s highest honor, the Drum Major for Justice Award for “pioneering efforts in the area of citizenship education and interracial cooperation.”2

Septima’s daughter, Yvonne Clark commented on her legacy, saying that her greatest work was inspiring others rather than documented accomplishments and that Septima died with “much love, respect and adoration from many people across the country.”3

charter school logoIn honor of her life’s work, The Septima Clark Public Charter School was founded in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1990’s. It was the first public charter school in the metropolitan area for boys in preschool through the eighth grade.4

Sources for this page:

1. Allen-Taylor, J. Douglas. “Septima Clark: Teacher to a Movement.” Safero. <;.
2. Sears Botsch, Carol. “Septima Poinsette Clark.” University of South Carolina – Aiken. 03 August 2000.
3. Interview with Yvonne Clark. Sears, Botsch, Carol. May 30, 2000.
4. “Continuing the Legacy of Miss Septima P. Clark.” Septima Clark Public Charter School. 2013. <;.