The Daily Prayer
SUNDAY, May 3, 2020
Septima Poinsette Clark (1898—1987)
Septima Poinsette Clark was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to a father who was an ex-slave and a mother who had been raised in the Caribbean. While her parents had very little formal education, they emphasized the need for Septima to go to school. Though Septima was eligible to teach after completing the eighth grade, her parents and teachers encouraged her to finish high school. After graduating she took a post as a teacher on Johns Island, off the coast of Charleston. There she began to notice the extreme disparity between the education of African-Americans and that of their white counterparts. This experience stayed with her and fueled her quest for educational reform. An avid social activist during the civil rights era, Septima traveled throughout the South to educate African-Americans about their voting rights. She worked closely with Myles Horton of the Highlander Folk School. Together they trained many civil rights activists, including Rosa Parks, in nonviolent resistance and local leadership. Although Septima was thrown in jail, threatened, fired from jobs, and falsely accused of wrongdoing, she never turned from her task of working against an unjust educational system. Septima Poinsette Clark has become known as the Grandmother of the Civil Rights Movement.
Septima Poinsette Clark liked to say, “I have a great belief in the fact that whenever there is chaos, it creates wonderful thinking. I consider chaos a gift.”
Like a tree planted by living water is the person who commits to your ways, O Lord. Nourish us with your disciplining love; prune our branches for growth. Teach us also to recognize good fruit and to recoil from the bitterness of the bad. Amen.