Image courtesy Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston

The third-annual MUSC Septima P. Clark Poetry Contest is now accepting submissions through March 15. The theme for the 2021 contest will be “Life during COVID-19.” Accepted poems will include any topic that may have impacted the writer during the pandemic.

Poetry submissions will be accepted from students in kindergarten through grade 12 across the state. Finalists will be announced in late April, and they will be invited to read their poems at the awards reception April 30. Registration is required and is found on MUSC’s website.

As in previous years, MUSC partnered with Charleston’s first poet laureate Marcus Amaker for the competition.

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The contest serves as a way to pay respect to its namesake, civil rights advocate and Charleston native Septima Clark, who was often referred to as the Grandmother of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously dubbed her “the Mother of the Movement,” helping to cement that legacy.

Throughout her career as an educator, she established the citizenship schools, places of education that taught Southern adults to read and registered them to vote.