Adult Literacy- Septima Clark
Medium: Oil on archival gallery wrap canvas
Size: 30″ x 40″
This painting represents all teachers of the time dedicated to improving the literacy of Black Americans during the voter rights movement. Septima Clark is teaching this man to write his own name as opposed to the X he used before. In the background are books that represent the vast knowledge available to the literate. On the bulletin board are a couple of flyers of the times.
Septima Poinsette Clark was an American educator and civil rights activist. Clark is most famous for establishing “Citizenship Schools” teaching reading and writing to adults throughout the Deep South that played an important role in the drive for voting rights and civil rights for African Americans in the American Civil Rights Movement. Septima Clark’s work was commonly under appreciated by Southern male activists. She became known as the “Queen mother” or “Grandmother” of the American Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Martin Luther King, Jr. commonly referred to Clark as “The Mother of the Movement”. Clark’s argument for her position in the civil rights movement was one that claimed “knowledge could empower marginalized groups in ways that formal legal equality couldn’t.” This painting was created especially for the Voters Rights Exhibition at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama celebrating of the golden anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.