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SC Septima Clark


The United States Mint American Innovation $1 Coin Program is a multi-year series honoring innovation and innovators with $1 coins from each State, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands.

The American Innovation $1 Coin representing South Carolina honors educator and civil rights activist Septima Poinsette Clark.

Born in 1898 in Charleston, South Carolina, Septima Clark pioneered the link between education and political organizing during the civil rights movement. Civil rights youth workers and community organizers referred to her as “Mother Conscience” and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to her as “The Mother of the Movement.”

Clark believed that “knowledge could empower marginalized groups in ways that formal legal equality couldn’t.” She helped establish the first Citizenship Schools, teaching literacy and citizenship rights, and helped establish local leaders for the civil rights movement. Teaching people to read and understand the Constitution helped black citizens pass the literacy tests used to disenfranchise black voters.

The initiative spread and was ultimately adopted by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where Clark became a training supervisor and worked closely with leaders of the civil rights movement.

The reverse (tails) depicts Septima Clark marching with three young African American students carrying books and an American flag, representing that education and literacy among oppressed people is necessary for empowerment and enjoyment of civil rights. The inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “SEPTIMA CLARK,” and “SOUTH CAROLINA.”

The edge-incused inscriptions are “2020,” mint mark, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”

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