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MUSC Septima P. Clark Poetry Contest

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Septima P. Clark Poetry Contest Page

View the video from our 2021 Septima P. Clark Poetry Contest Virtual Awards Ceremony

from Friday, April 30, 6 pm EST   

Consent has been obtained from all individuals featured in the video.  Closed captioning available.

We are pleased to announce the 3rd Annual MUSC Septima P. Clark Poetry Contest & Awards Reception.  This annual contest honors acclaimed Charleston native, teacher, and "Grandmother of the Civil Rights Movement" Septima P. Clark (1898-1987) for her dedication to service, education, and equality. As a recipient of the 1979 Living Legacy Award from President and 2002 Nobel Prize Winner Jimmy Carter, she was known for developing literacy and citizenship workshops to promote civil rights and equality.  She was also recognized by the State of South Carolina in 1982 with South Carolina's highest civilian award known as the Order of the Palmetto.

This is the third year for this collaboration with Charleston Poet Laureate Marcus Amaker. The contest theme is "Life During COVID-19," and poetry submissions will be accepted from elementary school (grades K-5), middle school (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12) students across the state of South Carolina. This year all participants have the option to submit poems to the MUSC COVID-19 Archive: Documenting Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic thru the Waring Historical Library on campus.  The 2021 submission due date is March 15th.  Finalists will be invited to read their poems as part of the online Awards Reception on Friday, April 30, 2021 at 6 pm EST.  Finalists for each category will be announced in late April 2021. First place prizes will include a Chromebook, hover board, and bicycle. Advanced registration is required, and the event link will be emailed 24 hours prior to the event to those who register. For questions or more information, please contact Dr. Cristina Smith at or call at 843-792-0701.

Click here for Submission Guidelines and Form

What's New on Our Website (Updated May 2021): 

Poetry Contest Finalists for 2021

Congratulations to our 2021 Winners who read their poems at our Virtual Award Ceremony on Friday, April 30, at 6 pm EST:

  • Elementary School:

    • 1st Place:  Adair Dombrowski

    • 2nd Place:  Marie Ray

    • 3rd Place:  Robert   “Vince” Mathison

  • Middle School:

    • 1st Place:  Cora Miller

    • 2nd Place: Christina Crowell

    • 3rd Place: Callie Ingram

  • High School:

    • 1st Place:  Kendall  Willis

    • 2nd Place: Lewis Lee

    • 3rd Place: Bethany “Autumn” Rouse

MUSC Septima P. Clark Awards Ceremony RSVP Link

Advanced registration has closed for the

Poetry Contest Virtual Awards Reception on Friday, April 30, 2021.

Click here to register.