In the spring of 1956 Clark had been fired as a public school teacher in Columbia, South Carolina, when she refused to resign from the NAACP, as required by a new state law prohibiting public employees from belonging to the organization.1 Determined to carry on her civil rights activism, she then became director of workshops at Highlander Folk School. King replied to her letter on 16 August.2
Rev. & Mrs. M. L. King
Dexter Ave. Baptist Church
Dear Rev. & Mrs. King:
The staff and director of Highlander Folk School invite you as a guest to spend a week or two with them.
The mountain top is cool and delightful especially at nights and we feel that you and your family can relax here in comfort. You deserve this and more for your courage.
For your information; room, board, and transportation will be furnished you. You may choose to come in during a workshop and stay on.
The enclosed folder will give you dates to choose from. You may write or call Monteagle 164 collect.
[signed] Mrs. Septima P. Clark
1. Septima Poinsette Clark (1898-1987), born in Charleston, received her B.A. (1942) from Benedict College in South Carolina and her M.A. (1945) from Hampton Institute in Virginia. Clark began teaching in 1916 and four years later campaigned against job discrimination in the teaching profession. Clark later joined the NAACP and participated in a class action suit that in 1945 established teacher pay equity. Recruited by Myles Horton to work at Highlander, Clark became an influential leader in the civil rights struggles of the late 1950s and early 1960s. She was instrumental in creating citizenship schools throughout the South and served as director of education for the SCLC. She was one of the few women to serve on SCLC's staff and executive board. Her autobiographical publications include Echo in My Soul (1962) and Ready from Within (1986).
2. See pp. 349-350 in this volume.
MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.