Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Nov 20, 2003 - Political Science - 496 pages
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One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement, Ella Baker (1903-1986) was an activist whose remarkable career spanned fifty years and touched thousands of lives.

A gifted grassroots organizer, Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle. She was a national officer and key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a prime mover in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Baker made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles that included W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr., all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white.

In this deeply researched biography, Barbara Ransby chronicles Baker's long and rich political career as an organizer, an intellectual, and a teacher, from her early experiences in depression-era Harlem to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Ransby shows Baker to be a complex figure whose radical, democratic worldview, commitment to empowering the black poor, and emphasis on group-centered, grassroots leadership set her apart from most of her political contemporaries. Beyond documenting an extraordinary life, the book paints a vivid picture of the African American fight for justice and its intersections with other progressive struggles worldwide across the twentieth century.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fadedwords - LibraryThing

Ella Baker! She was an amazing activist, and we could all learn so much from her...and by reading this book! It was an easy read, and packed full of information. A bit repetitive at points, but definitely worthy of about 4.5 stars. Read full review

Ella Baker and the Black freedom movement: a radical democratic vision

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

From her birth in Norfolk, VA, to her radicalism as a Harlem intellectual in the 1930s, Ella Jo Baker (1903-86) learned to hold fast to her roots and grab the belly of the beasts of racism and ... Read full review


Norfolk Virginia and Littleton North Carolina 19031918
Shaw Academy and Shaw University 19181927
The Making of a Black Radical Activist and Intellectual
The NAACP National Office 19401946
Local Politics and Global Ideologies New York City in the 1950s
The Politics of Leadership in the Early Civil Rights Movement
Section of Photos
9 The Empowerment of an Indigenous Southern Black Leadership 19611964
Fighting for Freedom in the Belly of the Beast of Southern Racism
11 The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the Radical Campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s
Ella Bakers Legacy
Ella Bakers Organizational Affiliations 19271986 A Partial List

Shreveport Birmingham and the Southern Conference Education Fund
The Birth of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 19601961

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About the author (2003)

Barbara Ransby is professor of African American studies and history and director of the Gender and Women's Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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