The recently unveiled mural of Septima P. Clark in the Education Center at the College of Charleston will serve as a backdrop for a March 28 conversation on the civil rights icon’s life and legacy.
A 7:30 p.m. panel discussion at the center will include five contributors to the book Ukweli: Searching for Healing Truth and an archivist from the college’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. Ukweli is a collection of essays and poems on the Black experience in America. Charleston City Paper senior editor Herb Frazier is the book’s co-editor.
Georgetown artist Natalie Daise created the 7-by-30-foot mural “Saint Septima with Carolina Jasmine” in the center’s Septima P. Clark Memorial Auditorium.
Unveiled Feb. 23 in the auditorium’s foyer, the mural features Clark’s portrait in profile and a quote from a 1970 speech: “I believe unconditionally in the ability of people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than to believe, to inquire rather than to affirm.”
“Ukweli,” is the Swahili word for truth. The book follows a 2020 poetry-lecture series at McLeod Plantation organized by poet and co-editor Horace Mungin. He passed away before Ukweli was released in February 2022. The book is a collection of essays and poems from 49 contributors, including Mungin and Frazier.
Ukweli contributors Millicent Brown, LaTisha Vaughn and Karen Meadows will discuss their Ukweli essays and Clark’s legacy at the March 28 event.
Brown is a retired college professor of American history who specializes in museum consulting and advocating for social justice issues. Vaughn is co-founder of E3: Educate, Empower, Elevate LLC, an organization that focuses on equitable outcomes for Black and brown children and families. Meadows, a high school counselor in Guilford County Schools, is an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Avery’s archivist Georgette Mayo will join them. Avery holds Clark’s personal papers.
Savannah Frierson, a Ukweli contributor and Avery’s office manager, will moderate the session. She and former S.C. Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, also a Ukweli contributor, will open and close the panel with Mungin’s poems from Ukweli. Wentworth teaches at the College of Charleston.
The event also provides an opportunity to premier a video that honors Mungin’s contributions to poetry and social activism. Charlotte filmmaker Steve Rutherford produced the 7-minute video as a tribute to Mungin, who started writing poetry in the mid-sixties during the genesis of the Black Arts Movement.
In addition to the Septima P. Clark mural, information panels in the Education Center present the periods of Clark’s life. Essays, interviews and a range of primary sources represent the online material the college has posted to tell Clark’s story as an educator and civil rights champion who the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called the mother of the movement.
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