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During the civil rights era, citizenship schools were an integral part of the effort to educate African Americans about their rights as United States citizens so they could vigorously assert these rights in the fight against segregation.
Citizenship schools were the brainchild of an African American South Carolina school teacher, Septima Clark. Her work attracted the interest of Myles Horton, a radical-thinking white organizer from the hills of Tennessee. Horton had founded a training center, The Highlander Institute, as a resource for people engaging in non-violent change in society.
Clark and Horton teamed up to provide an efficient and productive training program to prepare civil rights leaders to educate local people in strategies for making change. Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others attended and learned there.
Along with the tactic of non-violent protest, citizenship schools were the single most effective tool powering the Civil Rights Movement.