speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer
On the following links listen to and study the speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Take notes. ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRCUUzpfV7k Fannie Lou Hamer “Testimony’ in parthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07PwNVCZCcY Fannie Lou Hamer Full Testimony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t96fnyLMihA Ella Baker “Making the Struggle Every Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zLQLUpNGsc Malcolm: “The ballot or the bullet.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixfwGLxRJU8 Martin: “I have been to the Mountain Top”You can copy and past the links. ASSIGNMENT THIS WEEK: PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS VERY CAREFULLY. Write a 500 word essay (can be more than 500 words but not less than 500 words) in which you discuss 1-5 below in one complete essay. To be clear, write one essay covering 1-5 below, not five essays.. 1) Discuss the way Fannie Lou Hammer imbues her speech with determination to perservere. She is famously quoted for saying “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Mention at least two points that she stresses in her speech. Pull something from this speech to quote and say why that particular quote drew your attention. The tone in which a person ends a talk generally gets to that person’s ultimate thoughts or feelings at that point.. What is the tone in which she ends her speech?2) Discuss the way Malcolm imbues his speech at times with humor Mention at least two points that he stresses in his speech. Pull something from the speech to quote and say why that particular quote drew your attention. The tone in which a person ends a talk generally gets to that person’s ultimate thoughts or feelings at that point. What is the tone in which he ends his speech?3) Discuss the way Martin imbues his speech with religious fervor. Mention at least two points that he stresses in his speech. Pull something from his speech to quote and say why that particular quote drew your attention. The tone in which a person ends a talk generally gets to that person’s ultimate thoughts or feelings at that point.. What is the tone in which she ends his speech?4) Discuss the way Ella Baker imbues her speech with fight for rights. Mention at least two points that she stresses in her speech. Pull something from her speech to quote and say why that particular quote drew your attention. The tone in which a person ends a talk generally gets to that person’s ultimate thoughts or feelings at that point.. What is the tone in which she ends her speech?(5) Briefly state the aims of the “The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU)” that was founded by Malcolm X, John Henrik Clarke, and other Black nationalist leaders on June 24, 1964. Go to link https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/organization-afro-american-unity-oaau-1965/ for this information on the organization. CHECK LIST FOR COLLEGE LEVEL ESSAY: IT MUST 1) have an original title that you create. Titles of an essay on the title line must not be underlined nor in quotation marks.2) have indented paragraphs (not block style which is for business writing) 4) MUST HAVE A) an introduction paragraph that has a thesis statement in the last sentence of the first paragraph; B) have developing paragraphs; AND C) have a concluding paragraph. Must be no smaller than 12 font and double space PLEASE BE SURE TO HEED THIS CHECKLIST SO AS NOT TO LOSE POINTS. THE ESSAY WILL BE GRADED IN CONTENT AND COLLEGE LEVEL WRITINGDo not compare the four people, This is not about the way they may differ, but instead is about what they share as a common concernWhat follows is general information about Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker.Also please note that while called by the establishment, “violent,” Malcom was not violent, did not advocate starting a fight with anyone; Malcom X’s position was if someone attacks you, hit back. That is common sense, not violence, just as Martin’s approach for his goals, not to hit back. was common sense for his strategy. I have included information on Fannie Lou Hammer and Ellie Baker below for students who may not be as familiar with them as you are with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. This information on Wikipedia is okay to refer to. Fannie Lou HamerFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFannie Lou HamerBorn Fannie Lou Townsend HamerOctober 6, 1917Montgomery County, Mississippi, U.S.Died March 14, 1977 (aged 59)Mound Bayou, Mississippi, U.S.Burial place Ruleville, Mississippi, U.S.Organization National Women’s Political CaucusStudent Nonviolent Coordinating CommitteeNational Council of Negro WomenKnown for Civil rights leaderTitle Vice chairwoman of Freedom Democratic Party; Co-founder of National Women’s Political CaucusPolitical party Freedom Democratic PartyMovement Civil rights movementWomen’s rightsSpouse(s) Perry “Pap” HamerChildren 2Awards Inductee of the National Women’s Hall of FameFannie Lou Hamer (/ˈheɪmər/; née Townsend; October 6, 1917 – March 14, 1977) was an African American community organizer, and a leader in the civil rights movement. She was the co-founder and vice-chair of the Freedom Democratic Party, which she represented at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Hamer also organized Mississippi’s Freedom Summer along with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Hamer began civil rights activism in 1962, continuing until her health declined nine years later. She was known for her use of spiritual hymnals and quotes and her resilience in leading the civil rights movement for black women in Mississippi. She was extorted, threatened, harassed, shot at, and assaulted by racists and police while trying to register for and exercise her right to vote. She later helped and encouraged thousands of African-Americans in Mississippi to become registered voters and helped hundreds of disenfranchised people in her area through her work in programs like the Freedom Farm Cooperative. She unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1964 and the Mississippi State Senate in 1971. In 1970 she led legal action against the government of Sunflower County, Mississippi for continued illegal segregation.Hamer died on March 14, 1977, aged 59, in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Her memorial service was widely attended and her eulogy was delivered by U.S. Ambassador to the United NationsAndrew Young. She was posthumously inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.Fannie was born on October 6, 1917, in Montgomery County, Mississippi, the last of the 20 children of Ella and James Lee Townsend.After some of their animal stock was mysteriously poisoned, she suspected a local racist had done it; she said of this incident: “our stock got poisoned. We knowed [sic] this white man had done it …. That white man did it just because we were gettin’ somewhere. White people never like to see Negroes get a little success. All of this stuff is no secret in the state of Mississippi.In 1919 the Townsends moved to Sunflower County, Mississippi to work as sharecroppers on W. D. Marlow’s plantation.From age six she picked cotton with her family. During the winters of 1924 through 1930 she attended the one-room school provided for the sharecroppers’ children, open between picking seasons. Fannie loved reading and excelled in spelling bees and reciting poetry, but at age 12 she had to leave school to help support her aging parents. By age 13 she could pick 200–300 pounds (90 to 140 kg) of cotton daily, despite suffering from polio.Fannie continued to develop her reading and interpretation skills in Bible study at her church;[in later years Lawrence Guyot admired her ability to connect “the biblical exhortations for liberation and [the struggle for civil rights] any time that she wanted to and move in and out to any frames of reference.In 1944, after the plantation owner discovered her literacy, she was selected as its time and record keeper. The following year she married Perry “Pap” Hamer, a tractor driver on the Marlow plantation, and they remained there for the next 18 years.We had a little money so we took care of her and raised her. She was sickly too when I got her; suffered from malnutrition. Then she got run over by a car and her leg was broken. So she’s only in fourth grade now. — Fannie Lou Hamer[Hamer and her husband wanted very much to start a family but in 1961, Hamer received a hysterectomy by a white doctor without her consent while undergoing surgery to remove a uterine tumor. Forced sterilization was a common method of population control in Mississippi that targeted poor, African American women. Members of the Black community called the procedure a “Mississippi appendectomy”. The Hamers later raised two girls they adopted. One died of internal hemorrhaging after she was denied admission to the local hospital because of her mother’s activism.Hamer became interested in the civil rights movement in the 1950s.[She heard leaders in the local movement speak at annual Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL) conferences, held in Mound Bayou, Mississippi.The yearly conferences discussed black voting rights and other civil rights issues black communities in the area faced.Civil rights activismWhite racist attacksThey kicked me off the plantation, they set me free. It’s the best thing that could happen. Now I can work for my people.—Fannie Lou HamerOn Aug. 31, 1962, Hamer first learned about the constitutional right to vote from volunteers at the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who had visited her in Mound Bayou. She began to take direct political action in the civil rights movement. On August 31, she traveled with other activists to Indianola, Mississippi, hoping to register to vote. The registration test, crafted to keep blacks from voting, asked her to explain de facto laws. “I knowed [sic] as much about a facto law as a horse knows about Christmas Day,” she recalled. Rejected, she came home to find the “boss man raisin’ Cain.” She had better withdraw her registration, she was told, because “we’re not ready for that in Mississippi.”[“I didn’t try to register for you,” Hamer told her boss. “I tried to register for myself.”[ She was immediately fired and kicked off the plantation. Her husband was required to stay on the land until the end of the harvest.Hamer moved between homes over the next several days for protection. On September 10, while staying with friend Mary Tucker, Hamer was shot at 16 times in a drive-by shooting by racists. No one was injured in the event. The next day Hamer and her family evacuated to nearby Tallahatchie County for three months, fearing retaliation by the Ku Klux Klan for her attempt to vote. On December 4, just after returning to her hometown, she went to the courthouse in Indianola to take the literacy test again, but failed and was turned away. Hamer told the registrar that “You’ll see me every 30 days till I pass”.I guess if I’d had any sense, I’d have been a little scared—but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do was kill me, and it kinda seemed like they’d been trying to do that a little bit at a time since I could remember.— Fannie Lou HamerRegistering to voteSee also: Disenfranchisement after the Reconstruction Era, Jim Crow laws, and Literacy testOn January 10, 1963, Hamer took the literacy test a third time. She was successful and was informed that she was now a registered voter in the State of Mississippi. However, when she attempted to vote that fall, she discovered her registration gave her no actual power to vote as the county required voters to have two poll tax receipts. This requirement had emerged in some (mostly former Confederate) states after the right to vote was first given to all races by the 1870 ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. These laws along with the literacy tests and local government acts of coercion, were used against blacks and Native Americans. Hamer later paid for and acquired the requisite poll tax receipts.They talked about how it was our right, that we could register and vote. I had never heard, until 1962, that black people could register and vote.—Fannie Lou HamerWe been waitin’ all our lives, and still gettin’ killed, still gettin’ hung, still gettin’ beat to death. Now we’re tired waitin’!—Fannie Lou HamerHamer had begun to become more involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee after these incidents. She attended many Southern Christian Leadership Conferences(SCLC), which she at times taught classes for, and also various SNCC workshops. She traveled to gather signatures for petitions to attempt to be granted federal resources for impoverished black families across the south. She also became a field secretary for voter registration and welfare programs for the SNCC. Many of these first actions to attempt to register more black voters in Mississippi met with the same problems Hamer had had in trying to register herself.Police brutalityAfter becoming a field secretary for the SNCC in 1963, Hamer decided to attend a pro-citizenship conference by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Charleston, South Carolina. Travelling by bus with co-activists, the party stopped for a break in Winona, Mississippi. Some of the activists went inside a local cafe, but were refused service by the waitress. Shortly after, a Mississippi State highway patrolman took out his billy club and intimidated the activists into leaving. One of the group decided to take down the officer’s license plate number; while doing so the patrolman and a police chief entered the cafe and arrested the party. Hamer left the bus and inquired if they could continue their journey back to Greenwood, Mississippi.At that point the officers arrested her as well. Once in county jail, Hamer’s colleagues were beaten by the police in the booking room (including 15 year old June Johnson, for not saying “sir” in her replies to the officers).Hamer was then taken to a cell where two inmates were ordered, by the state trooper, to beat her using a blackjack. The police ensured she was held down during the almost fatal beating, and when she started to scream, beat her further. Hamer was groped repeatedly by officers during the assault. When she attempted to resist, she states an officer, “walked over, took my dress, pulled it up over my shoulders, leaving my body exposed to five men.” Another in her group was beaten until she was unable to talk; a third, a teenager, was beaten, stomped on, and stripped. An activist from the SNCC came the next day to see if they could help, but was beaten until his eyes were shut when he did not address an officer in the expected deferential manner.Hamer was released on June 12, 1963. She needed more than a month to recuperate from the beatings and never fully recovered.[Though the incident had profound physical and psychological effects, including a blood clot over her left eye and permanent damage on one of her kidneys,she returned to Mississippi to organize voter registration drives, including the 1963 Freedom Ballot, a mock election, and the “Freedom Summer” initiative the following year. She was known to the volunteers of Freedom Summer as a motherly figure who believed that the civil rights effort should be multi-racial in nature. In addition to her “Northern” guests, Hamer played host to Tuskegee University student activists Sammy Younge Jr. and Wendell ParisYounge and Paris grew to become profound activists and organizers under Hamer’s tutelage.(Younge was murdered in 1966 at a Standard Oil gas station in Macon County, Alabama, for using a “whites-only” restroom.Freedom Democratic Party and Congressional runHamer at the Democratic National Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey, August 1964External audio Audio of Hamer’s testimonyIn 1964, Hamer helped co-found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), in an effort to prevent the regional all-white Democratic party’s attempts to stifle African-American voices, and to ensure there was a party for all people that did not stand for any form of exploitation and discrimination (especially towards minorities). Following the founding of the MFDP, Hamer and other activists traveled to the 1964 Democratic National Convention to stand as the official delegation from the state of Mississippi. Hamer’s televised testimony was interrupted because of a scheduled speech that President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered to thirty governors in the East Room of the White House. However, most of the major news networks broadcast her testimony later that evening to the nation, giving Hamer and the MFDP much exposure.All of this is on account we want to register, to become first-class citizens, and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives are threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings in America?— Fannie Lou HamerSenator Hubert Humphrey tried to propose a compromise on behalf of the President that would give the Freedom Democratic Party two seats. He stated this would lead to a reformed convention in 1968. The MFDP rejected the compromise, with Hamer saying, “We didn’t come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we’d gotten here. We didn’t come all this way for no two seats when all of us is tired.”Afterwards, all of the white members from the Mississippi delegation walked out.In 1968 the MFDP was finally seated, after the Democratic Party adopted a clause which demanded equality of representation from their states’ delegations. In 1972, Hamer was elected as a national party delegate.Freedom Farm Cooperative and later activismIn 1964, Hamer unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate. She continued to work on other projects, including grassroots-level Head Start programs and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign. With the help of Julius Lester and Mary Varela, she published her autobiography in 1967. She said she was “tired of all this beating” and “there’s so much hate. Only God has kept the Negro sane”Hamer sought equality across all aspects of society. In Hamer’s view, African-Americans were not technically free if they were not afforded the same opportunities as whites, including those in the agricultural industry. Sharecropping was the most common form of post-slavery activity and income in the South.The New Deal era expanded so that many blacks were physically and economically displaced due to the various projects appearing around the country. Hamer did not wish to have blacks be dependent on any group for any longer; so, she wanted to give them a voice through an agricultural movement.James Eastland, a white senator, was among the groups of people who sought to keep African-Americans disenfranchised and segregated from society. His influence on the overarching agricultural industry often suppressed minority groups to keep whites as the only power force in America.Hamer objected to this, and consequently pioneered the Freedom Farm Cooperative (FFC) in 1969, an attempt to redistributeeconomic power across groups and to solidify an economic standing amongst African-Americans. In the same vein as the Freedom Farm Collective, Hamer partnered with the National Council of Negro Women(NCNW) to establish an interracial and interregional support program called The Pig Project to provide protein for people who previously could not afford meat.Hamer made it her mission to make land more accessible to African-Americans.[To do this, she started a small “pig bank” with a starting donation from the NCNW of five boars and fifty gilts.Through the pig bank, a family could care for a pregnant female pig until it bore its offspring; subsequently, they would raise the piglets and use them for food and financial gain.Within five years, thousands of pigs were available for breeding. Hamer used the success of the bank to begin fundraising for the main farming corporation. She was able to convince the then-editor of the Harvard Crimson, James Fallows, to write an article that advocated for donations to the FFC.[Eventually, the FFC had raised around $8,000 which allowed Hamer to purchase 40 acres of land previously owned by a black farmer who could no longer afford to occupy the land.This land became the Freedom Farm. The farm had three main objectives. These were to establish an agricultural organization that could supplement the nutritional needs of America’s most disenfranchised people; to provide acceptable housing development; and to create an entrepreneurial business incubator that would provide resources for new companies and re-training for those with limited education but manual labor experienceOver time, the FFC offered various other services such as financial counseling, a scholarship fund and a housing agency. The FFC aided in securing 35 Federal Housing Administration (FHA) subsidized houses for struggling black families.Through her success, Hamer managed to acquire a new home, which served as inspiration for others to begin building themselves up.] The FFC ultimately disbanded in 1975 due to lack of funding.In 1971 Hamer co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus. She emphasized the power women could hold by acting as a voting majority in the country regardless of race or ethnicity, saying “A white mother is no different from a black mother. The only thing is they haven’t had as many problems. But we cry the same tears.”[Later life and deathWhile having surgery in 1961 to remove a tumor, 44-year-old Hamer was also given a hysterectomy without consent by a white doctor; this was a frequent occurrence under Mississippi’s compulsory sterilization plan to reduce the number of poor blacks in the state. Hamer is credited with coining the phrase “Mississippi appendectomy” as a euphemism for the involuntary or uninformed sterilization of black women, common in the South in the 1960s. She came out of an extended period in hospital for nervous exhaustion in January 1972, and was hospitalized again in January 1974 for a nervous breakdown. By June 1974, Hamer was said to be in extremely poor health.Two years later she was diagnosed with and had surgery for breast cancer.Hamer died of complications of hypertension and breast cancer on March 14, 1977, aged 59, at Taborian Hospital, Mound Bayou, Mississippi. She was buried in her hometown of Ruleville, Mississippi. Her tombstone is engraved with one of her famous quotes, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”Her primary memorial service, held at a church, was completely full. An overflow service was held at Ruleville Central High School,[with over 1,500 people in attendance. Andrew Young, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, spoke at the RCHS service, saying “None of us would be where we are now had she not been there then”.A sign honoring Fannie Lou Hamer for her work in Ruleville, Mississippi.Hamer received many awards both in her lifetime and posthumously. She received a Doctor of Law from Shaw University, and honorary degrees from Columbia College Chicago in 1970[ and Howard University in 1972. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.Hamer also received the Paul Robeson Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Mary Church Terrell Award and Honorary lifetime member from Delta Sigma Theta, the National Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award. A remembrance for her life was given in the US House of Representatives on the 100th anniversary of her birth, October 6, 2017, by Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.Ella BakerFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to searchElla BakerElla baker 1964.jpgBaker in 1964Born Ella Josephine BakerDecember 13, 1903Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.Died December 13, 1986 (aged 83)Manhattan, New York, U.S.Occupation ActivistOrganization NAACP (1938–1953)SCLC (1957–1960)SNCC (1960–1966)Movement Civil Rights MovementSpouse(s) T. J. (Bob) Roberts(m. 1938; div. 1958)Ella Josephine Baker (December 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986) was an African American civil rights and human rightsactivist. She was a largely behind-the-scenes organizer whose career spanned more than five decades. In New York City and the South, she worked alongside some of the most noted civil rights leaders of the 20th century, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, and Martin Luther King Jr. She also mentored many emerging activists, such as Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael, Rosa Parks, and Bob Moses, whom she first mentored as leaders in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).Baker criticized professionalized, charismatic leadership; she promoted grassroots organizing, radical democracy, and the ability of the oppressed to understand their worlds and advocate for themselves. She realized this vision most fully in the 1960s as the primary advisor and strategist of the SNCC.Baker has been called “one of the most important American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement.” She is known for her critiques not only of racism within American culture, but also of sexism within the civil rights movement.Ella Josephine Baker was born on December 13, 1903, in Norfolk, Virginia,to Georgiana (called Anna) and Blake Baker, and first raised there. She was the second of three surviving children, bracketed by her older brother Blake Curtis and younger sister Maggie.Her father worked on a steamship line that sailed out of Norfolk, and so was often away. Her mother took in boarders to earn extra money. In 1910, Norfolk had a race riot in which whites attacked black workers from the shipyard. Her mother decided to take the family back to North Carolina while their father continued to work for the steamship company. Ella was seven when they returned to her mother’s rural hometown near Littleton, North Carolina.As a child, Baker grew up with little influence.Her grandfather Mitchell had died, and her father’s parents lived a day’s ride away. She often listened to her grandmother, Josephine Elizabeth “Bet” Ross, tell stories about slavery and leaving the South to escape its oppressive society.At an early age, Baker gained a sense of social injustice, as she listened to her grandmother’s horror stories of life as a slave. Her grandmother was beaten and whipped for refusing to marry another slave her owner chose,[and told Ella stories of life as an African-American woman during this period. Giving her granddaughter context to the African-American experience helped Ella understand the injustices black people still faced.[Ella attended Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and graduated with valedictorian honors.Decades later, she returned to Shaw to help found SNCC.New York CityBaker worked as editorial assistant at the Negro National News. In 1930, George Schuyler, a black journalist and anarchist (and later an arch-conservative), founded the Young Negroes Cooperative League (YNCL). It sought to develop black economic power through collective networks. They conducted “conferences and trainings in the 1930s in their attempt to create a small, interlocking system of cooperative economic societies throughout the US” for black economic development. Having befriended Schuyler, Baker joined his group in 1931 and soon became its national director.[Baker also worked for the Worker’s Education Project of the Works Progress Administration, established under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Baker taught courses in consumer education, labor history, and African history. She immersed herself in the cultural and political milieu of Harlem in the 1930s, protesting Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia and supporting the campaign to free the Scottsboro defendants in Alabama. She also founded the Negro History Club at the Harlem Library and regularly attended lectures and meetings at the YWCA.[During this time, Baker lived with and married her college sweetheart, T. J. (Bob) Roberts. They divorced in 1958. Baker rarely discussed her private life or marital status. According to fellow activist Bernice Johnson Reagon, many women in the Civil Rights Movement followed Baker’s example, adopting a practice of dissemblance about their private lives that allowed them to be accepted as individuals in the movement.Baker befriended John Henrik Clarke, a future scholar and activist; Pauli Murray, a future writer and civil rights lawyer; and others who became lifelong friends. The Harlem Renaissance influenced her thoughts and teachings. She advocated widespread, local action as a means of social change. Her emphasis on a grassroots approach to the struggle for equal rights influenced the growth and success of the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century.NAACP (1938–1953)In 1938 Baker began her long association with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), then based in New York City. In December 1940 she started work there as a secretary. She traveled widely for the organization, especially in the South, recruiting members, raising money, and organizing local chapters. She was named director of branches in 1943, and became the NAACP’s highest-ranking woman. An outspoken woman, Baker believed in egalitarian ideals. She pushed the NAACP to decentralize its leadership structure and to aid its membership in more activist campaigns at the local level.Baker believed that the strength of an organization grew from the bottom up, not the top down. She believed that the branches’ work was the NAACP’s lifeblood. Baker despised elitism and placed her confidence in many. She believed that the bedrock of any social change organization is not its leaders’ eloquence or credentials, but the commitment and hard work of the rank and file membership and their willingness and ability to engage in discussion, debate, and decision-makinWhile traveling throughout the South on the NAACP’s behalf, Baker met hundreds of black people, establishing lasting relationships with them. She slept in their homes, ate at their tables, spoke in their churches, and earned their trust. She wrote thank-you notes and expressed her gratitude to the people she met. This personalized approach was one important aspect of Baker’s effectiveness in recruiting more NAACP members. She formed a network of people in the South who would be important in the continued fight for civil rights. Whereas some northern organizers tended to talk down to rural southerners, Baker’s ability to treat everyone with respect helped her in recruiting. Baker fought to make the NAACP more democratic. She tried to find a balance between voicing her concerns and maintaining a unified front.Between 1944 and 1946, Baker directed leadership conferences in several major cities, such as Chicago and Atlanta. She got top officials to deliver lectures, offer welcoming remarks, and conduct workshops.In 1946, Baker took in her niece Jackie, whose mother was unable to care for her. Due to her new responsibilities, Baker left her full-time position with the NAACP and began to serve as a volunteer. She soon joined the NAACP’s New York branch to work on local school desegregation and police brutality issues. She became its president in 1952. In this role, she supervised the field secretaries and coordinated the national office’s work with local groups.Baker’s top priority was to lessen the organization’s bureaucracy and give women more power in the organization; this included reducing Walter Francis White’s dominating role as executive secretary.Baker believed the program should be primarily channeled not through White and the national office, but through the people in the field. She lobbied to reduce the rigid hierarchy, place more power in the hands of capable local leaders, and give local branches greater responsibility and autonomy. In 1953 she resigned from the presidency to run for the New York City Council on the Liberal Party ticket, but was unsuccessful.Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957–1960)In January 1957, Baker went to Atlanta to attend a conference aimed at developing a new regional organization to build on the success of the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama. After a second conference in February, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was formed. This was initially planned as a loosely structured coalition of church-based leaders who were engaged in civil rights struggles across the South.The group wanted to emphasize the use of nonviolent actions to bring about social progress and racial justice for southern blacks. They intended to rely on the existing black churches, at the heart of their communities, as a base of its support. Its strength would be built on the political activities of local church affiliates. The SCLC leaders envisioned themselves as the political arm of the black church.The SCLC first appeared publicly as an organization at the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. Baker was one of three major organizers of this large-scale event. She demonstrated her ability to straddle organizational lines, ignoring and minimizing rivalries and battles.The conference’s first project was the 1958 Crusade for Citizenship, a voter registration campaign to increase the number of registered African-American voters for the 1958 and 1960 elections. Baker was hired as Associate Director, the first staff person for the SCLC. Reverend John Tilley became the first Executive Director. Baker worked closely with southern civil rights activists in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, and gained respect for her organizing abilities. She helped initiate voter registration campaigns and identify other local grievances. Their strategy included education, sermons in churches, and efforts to establish grassroots centers to stress the importance of the vote. They also planned to rely on the Civil Rights Act of 1957 to protect local voters.[ While the project did not achieve its immediate goals, it laid the groundwork for strengthening local activist centers to build a mass movement for the vote across the South. After John Tilley resigned as director of the SCLC, Baker lived and worked in Atlanta for two and a half years as interim executive director until Reverend Wyatt Tee Walkerstarted in the role in April 1960.Baker’s job with the SCLC was more frustrating than fruitful. She was unsettled politically, physically, and emotionally. She had no solid allies in the office. Historian Thomas F. Jackson notes that Baker criticized the organization for “programmatic sluggishness and King’s distance from the people. King was a better orator than democratic crusader[, she] concluded.””Participatory democracy”In the 1960s, the idea of “participatory democracy” became popular among political activists, including those in the Civil Rights Movement. It combined the traditional appeal of democracy with an innovative tie to broader grass roots participation.The new movement had three primary emphases:An appeal for grassroots involvement of people throughout society, while making their own decisionsThe minimization of (bureaucratic) hierarchy and the associated emphasis on expertise and professionalism as a basis for leadershipA call for direct action as an answer to fear, isolation, and intellectual detachmentBaker said:You didn’t see me on television, you didn’t see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.According to activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, Baker advocated a more collectivist model of leadership over the “prevailing messianic style of the period.”[ Baker was largely arguing against the civil rights movement being structured along the organization model of the black church. The black church then had largely female membership and male leadership. Baker questioned not only the gendered hierarchy of the civil rights movement but also that of the Black church.Baker, King, and other SCLC members were reported to have differences in opinion and philosophy during the 1950s and 1960s. She was older than many of the young ministers she worked with, which added to their tensions. She once said that the “movement made Martin, and not Martin the movement.” When she gave a speech urging activists to take control of the movement themselves, rather than rely on a leader with “heavy feet of clay,” it was widely interpreted as a denunciation of King.Baker’s philosophy was “power to the people.”[ If members worked together, she believed that a group’s force could make significant changes.Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (1960–1966)That same year, 1960, on the heels of regional desegregation sit-ins led by black college students, Baker persuaded the SCLC to invite southern university students to the Southwide Youth Leadership Conference at Shaw University on Easter weekend. This was a gathering of sit-in leaders to meet, assess their struggles, and explore the possibilities for future actions.At this meeting, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “snick”) was formed.Baker saw the potential for a special type of leadership by the young sit-in leaders, who were not yet prominent in the movement. She believed they could revitalize the Black Freedom Movement and take it in a new direction. Baker wanted to bring the sit-in participants together in a way that would sustain the momentum of their actions, teach them the skills necessary, provide the resources that were needed, and also help them to coalesce into a more militant and democratic force. To this end she worked to keep the students independent of the older, church-based leadership. In her address at Shaw, she warned the activists to be wary of “leader-centered orientation.” Julian Bond later described the speech as “an eye opener” and probably the best of the conference. “She didn’t say, ‘Don’t let Martin Luther King tell you what to do,'” Bond remembers, “but you got the real feeling that that’s what she meant.”[SNCC became the most active organization in the deeply oppressed Mississippi Delta. It was relatively open to women. Following the conference at Shaw, Baker resigned from the SCLC and began a long and close relationship with SNCC. Along with Howard Zinn, Baker was one of SNCC’s highly revered adult advisors, and she was known as the “Godmother of SNCC.”In 1961 Baker persuaded the SNCC to form two wings: one wing for direct action and the second wing for voter registration. With Baker’s help SNCC, along with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), coordinated the region-wide Freedom Rides of 1961. They also expanded their grassroots movement among black sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and others throughout the South. Ella Baker insisted that “strong people don’t need strong leaders,” and criticized the notion of a single charismatic leader of movements for social change. In keeping the idea of “participatory democracy”, Baker wanted each person to get involved. She also argued that “people under the heel,” the most oppressed members of any community, “had to be the ones to decide what action they were going to take to get (out) from under their oppression”.She was a teacher and mentor to the young people of SNCC, influencing such important future leaders as Julian Bond, Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael, Curtis Muhammad, Bob Moses, and Bernice Johnson Reagon. Through SNCC, Baker’s ideas of group-centered leadership and the need for radical democratic social change spread throughout the student movements of the 1960s. For instance, the Students for a Democratic Society, the major antiwar group of the day, promoted participatory democracy. These ideas also influenced a wide range of radical and progressive groups that would form in the 1960s and 1970s.In 1964 Baker helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) as an alternative to the all-white Mississippi Democratic Party. She worked as the coordinator of the Washington office of the MFDP and accompanied a delegation of the MFDP to the 1964 National Democratic Party convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The group wanted to challenge the national party to affirm the rights of African Americans to participate in party elections in the South, where they were still largely disenfranchised. When MFDP delegates challenged the pro-segregationist, all-white official delegation, a major conflict ensued. The MFDP delegation was not seated, but their influence on the Democratic Party later helped to elect many black leaders in Mississippi. They forced a rule change to allow women and minorities to sit as delegates at the Democratic National Convention.The 1964 schism with the national Democratic Party led SNCC toward the “black power” position. Baker was less involved with SNCC during this period, but her withdrawal was due more to her declining health than to ideological differences. According to her biographer Barbara Ransby, Baker believed that black power was a relief from the “stale and unmoving demands and language of the more mainstream civil rights groups at the time.”[She also accepted the turn towards armed self-defense that SNCC made in the course of its development. Her friend and biographer Joanne Grant wrote that “Baker, who always said that she would never be able to turn the other cheek, turned a blind eye to the prevalence of weapons. While she herself would rely on her fists … she had no qualms about target practice.”Southern Conference Education Fund (1962–1967)From 1962 to 1967, Baker worked on the staff of the Southern Conference Education Fund (SCEF). Its goal was to help black and white people work together for social justice; the interracial desegregation and human rights group was based in the South.[ SCEF raised funds for black activists, lobbied for implementation of President John F. Kennedy’s civil rights proposals, and tried to educate southern whites about the evils of racism.[Federal civil rights legislation was passed by Congress and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 and 1965, but implementation took years.In SCEF, Baker worked closely with her friend Anne Braden, a white longtime anti-racist activist. Braden had been accused in the 1950s of being a communist by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Baker believed that socialism was a humane alternative to capitalism, but had mixed feelings about communism. She became a staunch defender of Braden and her husband Carl; she encouraged SNCC to reject red-baiting as divisive and unfair. During the 1960s, Baker participated in a speaking tour and co-hosted several meetings on the importance of linking civil rights and civil liberties.Final yearsIn 1967 Baker returned to New York City, where she continued her activism. She later collaborated with Arthur Kinoy and others to form the Mass Party Organizing Committee, a socialist organization.In 1972 she traveled the country in support of the “Free Angela” campaign, demanding the release of activist and writer Angela Davis, who had been arrested in California as a communist. Davis was acquitted after representing herself in court.Baker also supported the Puerto Rican independence movement and spoke out against apartheid in South Africa. She allied with a number of women’s groups, including the Third World Women’s Alliance and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She remained an activist until her death in 1986 on her 83rd birthday.Baker was a very private person. Many people close to her did not know that she was married for 20 years to T. J. “Bob” Roberts. Baker kept her own surname.Representation in other mediaThe 1981 documentary Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker, directed by Joanne Grant, explored Baker’s important role in the civil rights movement.Bernice Johnson Reagon wrote “Ella’s Song,” in Baker’s honor, for the film Fundi.[Several biographies have been written about Baker, including Barbara Ransby’s Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (2003) published by the University of North Carolina Press.Ransby is a historian and longtime activist.Legacy and honorsIn 1984, Baker received a Candace Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.Her papers are held by the New York Public Library.In 1994, Baker was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.In 1996, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a non-profit strategy and action center based in Oakland, California, was founded and named for her.In 2003, The Ella Jo Baker Intentional Community Cooperative, a 15-unit cohousing community, began living together in a renovated house in Washington, DCIn 2009, Baker was honored on a U.S. postage stamp.In 2014, the University of California at Santa Barbara established a visiting professorship to honor Baker.