Ella Baker stayed involved in progressive politics and collective action well into her later years. Baker was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and grew up in rural Littleton, North Carolina. The right to be men and women, to grow and to develop to the fullest capacity with which He has endowed us. As an obvious nod to Black women who are the most loyal constituency of the Democratic party, Biden used a quote from “a giant of the civil rights movement,” Ella Baker, to frame the core theme of his speech – “Give the people light, and they will find a way.” Throughout the speech, Biden drew “light versus dark” contrasts with Trump. Ella Baker was born on December 18, 1903, in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.Her parents were Georgiana and Blake Baker. And so we have come here tonight to renew our struggle, our struggle for that which we are entitled by virtue of being children of the Almighty. Howard Zinn, introductory remarks, "Salute To Ella Baker," Pacifica Radio Archives, BB3142. [5] And I’m not talking about Negroes, I’m talking about people. She was an excellent student. It was headed by two of her closest friends, Anne and Carl Braden, who were white. Education. Baker was regarded as a powerful and inspiring figure, but she consciously avoided the limelight. Ella Baker never officially retired from public life. We are going to have to be concerned about the kinds of education our children are getting in school, and all of this has to be done along at the same time that we also recognize that our white brothers, the very white brothers in Hattiesburg and in other parts of Mississippi who have kept us in bondage, that they did it because they did not know any better. [3] And as I have listened here tonight, my spirit has rove over a long period of years and I can think of a number of things I would like to say, but if I had anything at all to say tonight is to remind us of something that occurred to me, something that came into focus in a conversation on the night that Medger Evers’s body came through Atlanta. But for a woman of such historical significance, Baker took pains to obscure her contributions. Ella Baker (1903—1986) played an instrumental role in the development of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. And it has to do with the whole struggle I think because it says, “For now we are nearer than when we first believed.” I forgot the exact quote, but let us “cast aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”. By Ella Baker The Southern Patriot May, 1960 [After SNCC's founding conference at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, Ella Baker wrote the following article that summarized the address she gave at the conference.See SNCC Founded for background] . Shawn Parry-Giles, University of Maryland, Copyright © Voices of Democracy. She remained true to her self-effacing style, leaving relatively few personal records or intimate interviews for historians and biographers to work with. In 1957, Rustin and Baker travelled south to help the young King create a new organization that would coordinate protest activities across the region, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Joe Biden opened his acceptance speech Thursday night by quoting someone whom most of the audience -- indeed, most American -- have never heard of. Ella Baker, Puerto Rico solidarity rally, 1974. Here is a transcript of Mr. Biden’s remarks as they were prepared for delivery. For King, it was "top down." ELLA BAKER, “ADDRESS AT THE HATTIESBURG FREEDOM DAY RALLY” (21 JANUARY 1964) Classroom Activities. Denise M. Bostdorff For much of the 1940s, she travelled the South building membership and recruiting local leaders. “I found a greater sense of importance by being a part of those who were growing,” Baker told filmmaker Joanne Grant in her 1981 documentary Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker. At the end of the weekend, the conference goers created a new group, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This transcript is the result of a tape-recorded interview conducted by John H. Britton, staff associate, Civil Rights Documentation Project, with Miss Ella Baker in Washington, D.C., June 19, 1968. And so we must come to grips with a lot of problems. (Jack Harris / AP Photo) The Student Leadership Conference made it crystal clear that current sit-ins and other demonstrations Consider the context in which Baker gave her address and who was present in the audience. In 1960, a wave of student-led lunch counter sit-ins offered new promise. Note: Fundi is an African word honoring a person who is a skilled or expert teacher. 1981-2000 ), also located at the top of this lesson plan. She was born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia, and was raised in North Carolina where she would go on to attend Shaw University in Raleigh. She'd kept her maiden name and was universally referred to as Miss Ella Baker. “Ella Baker used her powerful voice to speak out for the world she believed in, one in which every human being is respected, regardless of race, gender, and ethnicity,” said Dana Rubin, founder of The Speaking While Female Speech Bank which celebrates women’s public speech with more than 1,800 examples of women using their voices for change. Learn more about Baker… And we are going to have to have these freedom schools and we are going to have to learn a lot of things in them. [2] You know, I always like to think that the very God who gave us life, gave us liberty. She helped organize The Young Negroes Cooperative League, a coalition of local cooperatives and buying clubs that banded together to increase their economic power. Baker, Interview by John Britton, 19 June 1968, RBOH-DHU-MS. Grant, Ella Baker, 1998. 1941-1960 Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., "The Spirit of Ella Baker Lives On," Washington Afro-American, January 27, 1987. You can join her legacy and be a part of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights today. How has grassroots activism changed today given the importance of the Internet, especially social media? Baker yearned for a genuinely grassroots, democratic way to make change. Raleigh, NC — The Student Leadership Conference made it crystal clear that current sit-ins and other demonstrations are … She admired their principles and some of their organizing methods, but she never joined their parties. But in my own experience the differences were more of emphasis than of kind, and both played necessary roles. The cause is the cause that brings us together, the drive of the human spirit for freedom. Maegan Parker Brooks After graduating in 1927, Baker moved to Harlem to live with a cousin and look for work. The Ella Baker quotes featured below show her opinions on activism, the fight for civil rights, and prominent civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr. What have you learned about the civil rights […] Ella Josephine Baker was a civil rights activist whose organizational, behind-the-scenes work made her one of the most important figures in the Civil Rights Movement. Baker, Interview by John Britton, 19 June 1968, RBOH-DHU-MS. Grant, Ella Baker, 1998. Baker was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and grew up in rural Littleton, North Carolina. [4] We are not in the final stages of the freedom struggle. Ella Baker, a giant of the civil rights movement, left … After graduating from Shaw University, Ella Baker moved to New York City and began her career as a grassroots organizer. William Apess Zinn continued: "She was always doing the nitty-gritty, down-in-the-earth work that other people were not doing. 5. Freedom of Speech Social & Economic Justice After graduating from Shaw University, she organized consumer cooperatives in New York and worked on consumer affairs for the Works Progress … Baker encouraged the young people to be their own leaders rather than get absorbed in existing organizations. Ella Baker, her life, her witness, her words, and her deeds as one who exemplifies the glory of creation: a human being fully alive! Ella Baker in an interview with Gerda Lerner, a historian, described her role in the NAACP; “you would deal with whatever the local problem was and on the basis of the needs of the people you would try to organise them in the NAACP” (Lerner, 1972, p.347). Does Baker address any of those other issues? 7. The Bradens were journalists and radical activists from Louisville, Kentucky who challenged racial oppression in their hometown and across the South. In the final analysis, [she felt] the major political decisions had to be theirs."5. While all sorts of rhetoric was going on, all kinds of grandstanding was going on, that's what she was doing."9. "Such a person gets to the point of believing that he is the movement," she said. Baker co-authored an expose titled "The Bronx Slave Market" which appeared in the NAACP's magazine, Crisis. Angry whites burned a cross on the lawn and finally bombed the house when the black occupants were away. I’ve been a part of a lot of singing, but I know, and you must know, that singing alone will not do it for us. Ella Baker – organizer, activist, radical – a commanding five feet, two inches tall – spoke those words in August of 1964. ELLA BAKER, “ADDRESS AT THE HATTIESBURG FREEDOM DAY RALLY” (21 JANUARY 1964) [1] This is rather unusual. 2001-present, Susan B. Anthony Ella Baker championed grassroots activism. Equality for all, that was what I wanted, And that is what I would work for my whole life. Main Activity: Jigsaw on Ella Baker. Reddick, “Notes on Southern Christian Leadership Conference Administrative Committee Meeting,” April 1959, in Papers 5:171-179.. Young, An Easy Burden, 1996. She emphasized the importance of a grassroots approach over charismatic leadership within the movement. University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742-7635, Questions/comments about the VOD website may be directed to Baker's method, with the SNCC cadre and local southern communities, was to create "conditions of possibility for others to find their voices and develop leadership. Bush Carmichael was there, too, flanked by bodyguards because of the increasing controversy caused by his black power rhetoric. Let me tell you why. In 1954, the Bradens purchased a home on behalf of a black couple in a segregated white suburb of Louisville. Ella Baker was a civil rights activist and important member of some of the most influential organizations in the civil rights movement. The commission had been appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to study the causes of rioting in African American urban neighborhoods in 1967. U.S. Internationalism The event was sponsored by the Southern Conference Education Fund (SCEF). Oppressed people, whatever their level of formal education, have the ability to understand and interpret the world around them, to see the world for what it is, and move to transform it. Joining the NAACP in 1940, the Virginia native assisted in developing some of the brightest minds in the Civil Rights Movement. Civil Rights As a young adult, Ella Baker attended Shaw University. William Jennings Bryan In Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, Barbara Ransby argues that Baker and King had radically different philosophies of change. SCEF was an interracial civil rights group. Read Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's speech to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, as prepared for delivery: Historian Howard Zinn introduced Ella Baker as "one of the most consequential and yet one of the least honored people in America." Ella Baker (1903—1986) played an instrumental role in the development of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Ella Baker played a key role in Civil Rights organizations including the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.This song celebrates her life and reminds us that working for justice has always been a … SCEF was an interracial civil rights group. Citizenship & Civic Identity [7] And so in conclusion let me quote one of my favorite or improvise one of my favorite thoughts in scripture. Ashley Barrett Helen Caldicott 2. "Ella Baker, a giant of the civil rights movement, left us with this wisdom: Give people light and they will find a way," Biden said. Baker had worked with the organization from the late 1950s. Patrick Buchanan She was the granddaughter of slaves, one of three children born into an extended family of modest means and strong social ideals. From left -- Emory Harris, Stokely Carmichael (in hat), Sam Block, Eleanor Holmes, and Ella Baker. Contribute now…, Speech to Southern Conference Education Fund, Support American RadioWorks with your Amazon.com purchases. 7 quotes from Ella Baker: 'Until the killing of black men, black mothers' sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother's son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens. Ella Baker was my name and civil rights was my game. After more than two years, Baker left the SCLC because she felt it had become excessively centered on King's persona and authority. Introduction. This lesson introduces students to the life and times of civil rights activist Ella Baker (1903-1986). She also had three siblings. She notably helped form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Baker put her theory that “strong people don’t need strong leaders” into action when she encouraged college students to create an autonomous organization free of … (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 373. At Baker’s side is actress Ruby Dee. That tomorrow if we were to call up all the able-bodied men in our country, who could do some work, we wouldn’t have work for them to do. Her memorial service was attended by Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Julian Bond and others who considered themselves her movement "children."8. AP Photo/Jack Harris It's time for us, for We the People, to come together. A group of people were down at the station among us; we were there for the purpose of identifying with the great tragedy that had occurred in his being shot to death. And until that day, we will never turn back. She was speaking at the state convention of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party as it prepared for the national Democratic Convention. in sociology from Shaw. Well, my greatest fling has still to be flung, because as far as I’m concerned I was never working for an organization, I have always tried to work for a cause, and the cause to me is bigger than any organization. We will choose hope over fear, … From left -- Emory Harris, Stokely Carmichael (in hat), Sam Block, Eleanor Holmes, and Ella Baker. Charles M. Payne, I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle “Fundi” is a Swahili word, and Baker’s nickname, meaning someone who passes on her wisdom on to other generations. Ella Baker, official of the Southern Conference Educational Fund, speaks at the Jeannette Rankin news conference on Jan. 3, 1968. She emphasized the importance of a grassroots approach over charismatic leadership within the movement. She generally did not talk about her private life, even with colleagues. ~ Ella Baker, excerpt from Valedictorian speech, 1927, (Source: Ransby, Barbara. Ella Baker & The Black Freedom Movement) Give people light and they will find a way. George H.W. Ella Baker, “The Black Woman in the Civil Rights Struggle,” address given at Institute of the Black World, Atlanta, Georgia, 1969; Joanne Grant, “Appendix,” in Ella Baker: Freedom Bound (New York: John Wiley, 1998), 227–231. 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