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  • Title: The Progressive Club - Gullah Geechee Women Leaders
  • Location: Johns Island, SC
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In the 1950s, activist Septima Poinsette Clark (1898–1987) and her cousin, Bernice Robinson (1914–1994), opened the first Citizenship School (now referred to as The Progressive Club) in Johns Island, So. Carolina, in order to facilitate Black American voter registration by teaching adult students how to read and write. The success of their school spread through the area, and soon neighboring islands and towns also began establishing educational centers where Black Americans could learn the skills needed to become registered voters. In 1961, state leaders forced the Citizenship School to transition into a Southern Christian Leadership Conference site, which had affiliate sites across the American South. These sites, in addition to prepping voters, also became important to the community, offering workshops and classes on topics related to literacy, activism, and practical skills. These sites were important community cornerstones as well as instrumental in engaging more Americans to vote.