The CDF Freedom Schools® program is rooted in the history and vision of the Civil Rights Movement, and Black leadership propels the program to this day. Every day at CDF Freedom Schools, young scholars learn about, reflect on, and apply the lessons of real-life Black heroes. In that spirit, we’re celebrating Black History Month by asking the staff of some of our exemplary CDF Freedom Schools sponsor organizations to tell us who inspires them and whose footsteps they seek to walk in as they serve our country’s children.
Inspiring figures in Black history: Septima Poinsette Clark and Nelson Mandela
While there are many figures in Black history that inspire me, first I must say that I received my initial inspiration from my parents, who were actively engaged in the fight for equality for black people all my life. They were continually exerting their energy and efforts to ensure that Black folk not only registered to vote, but also went to the polls and actually voted. However, in addition to my parents, Septima Poinsette Clark and Nelson Mandela were also inspirational to me.
What about this person’s story or legacy inspires you today?
Both Septima Poinsette Clark and Nelson Mandela are the epitome of true believers in their people. “People who believe in freedom cannot rest” is the mantra they both lived by and for and never gave up no matter the plight.
How do you seek to live your life or serve the young people of your community in that person’s honor?
They both were ostracized for working to enhance the lives of their people. Mrs. Clark worked to educate the young and old within her community. While Mr. Mandela gave up 27 years of his life instead of giving in to the apartheid system of the minorities in South Africa. Both lost their jobs and suffered injustices because they were attempting to ensure justice for others.
The views expressed above are those of the individual interviewed.
Septima Poinsette Clark
The King Institute at Stanford University