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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Septima Poinsette Clark, July 30, 1976. Interview G-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Highlander Folk School volunteers go to jail for voter registration campaigns

The Highlander Folk School taught literacy in Savannah and other areas of Georgia to prepare black residents for voter registration. While working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on these efforts, many of the volunteers went to jail.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Septima Poinsette Clark, July 30, 1976. Interview G-0017. 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

SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
The first part of Georgia that we worked through was Savannah, Georgia, and we worked with Savannah because Hosea Williams was there trying to get people to register to vote and didn't know that he had to teach them to read and write so they could answer the thirty questions that Georgia had for them to answer. When we were successful in Savannah, then Hosea found eighteen counties in the southeastern part of Georgia, and we started schools in those eighteen counties. That's when we brought in people to the center and trained them.
EUGENE WALKER:
What happened in Savannah?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
In Savannah the success was great. We got these people registered to vote, and in three weeks' time we were able, with the help of the SNCC boys and Southern Christian Leadership Conference's staff, we put 9,000 black registered voters on the books.
EUGENE WALKER:
Can you recall whether this was in '60 or '61?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
'61.
EUGENE WALKER:
So in 1960, what were you doing? It was the year you spent organizing or trying to get . . .
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
Yes, we were organizing that year. We didn't have the voting rights bill, and numbers of our people were arrested for trying to register. But nevertheless we went through with it and were able to get bail and bond and bailed them out.