Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the new Septima Clark Learning Center! Here are some frequently asked questions and answers.

Q: Who is Septima Clark and how is she connected to Highlander?

A: Septima’s work with Highlander as Education Director (1956-1961) sparked a new era in popular education with far-reaching effects on the movement for justice and civil rights. Septima Clark led the Citizenship School program that taught literacy to Black communities in the South, enabling them to pass oppressive voter registration tests as well as protect their rights and livelihoods in a multitude of ways. Through this program, Septima trained a network of teachers who provided vital support for more than 700,000 Movement leaders across the South

Q: Where can I learn more about Septima Clark?

A: The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Digital Gateway has a page dedicated to Septima Clark that includes photos, recorded interviews, workbooks from the Citizenship School, and much more. Click here to visit.

Q: Why does Highlander need the Septima Clark Learning Center?

A: The Highlander Library & Archive is an irreplaceable resource in need of a 21st Century home in order to serve the thousands of community leaders we work with each year. The new Septima Clark Learning Center enables us to expand how we integrate Library & Archive materials into the work of our Education Team, our website, and the experience of Highlander participants and visitors.

Q: But we’ll miss the old library!

A: Many of us hold memories of the library that can never be replaced. Maintaining buildings and systems is an unseen challenge for maintaining Highlander as a social justice center gathering space. We are working to support leaders while also making sure buildings are safe, useful and inviting, and that we have utilities, roads, and supporting infrastructure. Now that Highlander has been in New Market since 1971, infrastructure needs are critical to survive into the future.

Q: Will the Learning Center house the new library?

A: The Septima Clark Learning Center will house our library and a large, multi-use hall for meetings, workshops, art making, displays, film viewings, etc. 

Q: Where will it be located?

A: The Septima Clark Learning Center will be easily accessible from the Workshop Center and Pavilion, while creating a beautiful commons area in the center. 

Q: Will the Learning Center offer new programming?

A: Expanding library programming is the next step beyond building. We will build out programming in the new facility, continue to invite visitors and participants, share history, stories, inspiration and methodologies on-site.

We also plan to coordinate more digitized access to Highlander materials tied to social movements and popular education that can be available to people across the globe

Q: How can I contribute?

A: Contact Allyn Maxfield-Steele at if you’d like to join our fundraising efforts or contribute in some other way.

To make a donation, click here and select the Septima Clark Learning Center