Citizenship Schools: They Say I’m Your Teacher

Time Periods: 1945
Themes: Voting Rights, African American, Education, Organizing

Septima Clark (center), Alice Wine, and Bernice Robinson (standing) at a Citizenship School in the South Carolina Sea Islands. Late 1950s.

In the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, Bernice Robinson, a beautician from South Carolina, becomes the first teacher in the Citizen Education Schools, teaching African American adults to read to pass the voter registration requirements in the South.

They Say I’m Your Teacher is a documentary short about the Citizen Education Schools, created from the 16mm archives of the groundbreaking 1985 film, You Got to Move. The film, produced by The Literacy Project, can be streamed online in English and Spanish.

They Say I’m Your Teacher from Lucy Massie Phenix on Vimeo.

Also, in Spanish: Dicen que soy su maestra (9 mins)

Watch three more short films from the documentary You Got to Move: Stories of Change in the South.

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