The Beauty of History, Large and Small

In poking around in old family photos I found a document with information I had completely forgotten: my father didn’t graduate from high school—he got what these days we call a GED. Jim Clarke grew up in two places simultaneously: St. Louis, Missouri, where he lived with his mother, and Edgefield District, South Carolina. (That’s what it was called then. It’s a town now, the county seat of Edgefield County. Twenty miles from Augusta, Georgia. Clarks/Clarkes go back to the 1600s in this area. His father’s people lived there, and still do.)

Jim was back and forth between the two locations, not always on school vacations, so it’s no surprise he failed to graduate from a St. Louis high school. (Also, he was a bit of a troublemaker in his youth. This should surprise no one who knew him, or who knows me.) Anyway, he has a “State High School Certificate” from South Carolina, signed 10 June 1949 (he was 20), signed (real signature, not a stamp) by Strom Thurmond, who was governor at the time.

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