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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Septima Poinsette Clark, July 25, 1976. Interview G-0016. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

All of the children in the Poinsette family worked to bring in enough funds

Everyone in Clark's family worked to provide enough money for everyone to live on. Septima Clark worked in childcare and teaching.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Septima Poinsette Clark, July 25, 1976. Interview G-0016. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACQUELYN HALL:
a caterer all the time you were growing up?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
Not all the time. For a while. And business didn't pan out to do too well. He was with another fellow named Brownie. They ran a little restaurant downtown, and then they catered at nights to big parties, but she knew they weren't able to make a living. Well, he had this USO job, two at a time, and those were the things that he did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember other things that he did to make a living?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
No, only catering and running that restaurant and custodian. He was a custodian at the USO.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did any of the children work?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
All of them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Any of the brothers and sisters work for money?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
Sure, wework.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you do?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
Well, my brothers used to carry the papers as little boys. They took papers in the morning and in the afternoon. And, as I said, I took care of a lady's two children that lived across the street from me. She was a dressmaker, and I took care of her children in the mornings and in the afternoons. She paid my tuition. And my sister, she went to a trade to learn to be a dressmaker, but she never did learn.
JACQUELYN HALL:
She never did learn? [laughter]
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
Her mind was on other things, and she never did learn to sew. [laughter] And the little ones coming along, they profited from my work, because when I finished high school and took a state examination and started teaching, I could help the family.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes. Did you ever take in boarders? Did your mother ever take in boarders?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
No. Had too many children.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have any other relatives living with you?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
No. There were eight of us, you know, and all we could do was to get them sheltered, and we never took in.