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Baker in 1964
Ella Josephine Baker
December 13, 1903
Norfolk, Virginia, United States
|Died||December 13, 1986 83)(aged|
|Organization|| NAACP (1938–1953)|
|Movement||Civil Rights Movement|
|Spouse(s)||T. J. (Bob) Roberts (div. 1958)|
Ella Josephine Baker (December 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986) was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist in the United States. 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).
Human rights are "the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled" Examples of rights and freedoms which are often thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property, freedom of expression, pursuit of happiness and equality before the law; and social, cultural and economic rights, including the right to participate in science and culture, the right to work, and the right to education.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community, and after completing graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
Thurgood Marshall was an American lawyer, serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court's 96th justice and its first African-American justice. Prior to his judicial service, he successfully argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education.
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.She has been ranked as "One of the most important African 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 the sexism and classism within the civil rights movement.
Non-governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, or nongovernment organizations, commonly referred to as NGOs, are usually non-profit and sometimes international organizations independent of governments and international governmental organizations that are active in humanitarian, educational, health care, public policy, social, human rights, environmental, and other areas to effect changes according to their objectives. They are thus a subgroup of all organizations founded by citizens, which include clubs and other associations that provide services, benefits, and premises only to members. Sometimes the term is used as a synonym of "civil society organization" to refer to any association founded by citizens, but this is not how the term is normally used in the media or everyday language, as recorded by major dictionaries. The explanation of the term by NGO.org is ambivalent. It first says an NGO is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level, but then goes on to restrict the meaning in the sense used by most English speakers and the media: Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information.
A cult of personality arises when a country's regime – or, more rarely, an individual – uses the techniques of mass media, propaganda, the big lie, spectacle, the arts, patriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies to create an idealized, heroic, and worshipful image of a leader, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. A cult of personality is similar to apotheosis, except that it is established by modern social engineering techniques, usually by the state or the party in one-party states and dominant-party states. It is often seen in totalitarian or authoritarian countries.
Radical democracy was articulated by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe in their book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, written in 1985. They argue that social movements which attempt to create social and political change need a strategy which challenges neoliberal and neoconservative concepts of democracy. This strategy is to expand the liberal definition of democracy, based on freedom and equality, to include difference.
Ella Josephine Baker was born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia to Georgiana (called Anna) and Blake Baker and first raised there. She was the middle 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 was frequently 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.
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 242,803; in 2017, the population was estimated to be 244,703 making it the second-most populous city in Virginia after neighboring Virginia Beach.
Littleton is a town in Halifax County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 674 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina Micropolitan Statistical Area.
North Carolina is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. North Carolina is the 28th-most extensive and the 9th-most populous of the U.S. states. The state is divided into 100 counties. The capital is Raleigh, which along with Durham and Chapel Hill is home to the largest research park in the United States. The most populous municipality is Charlotte, which is the second-largest banking center in the United States after New York City.
As a girl, Baker lived in a woman-centered world of maternal relatives. 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 leaving the South to escape its oppressive society.
The southern United States, also known as the American South, Dixie, Dixieland, or simply the South, is a region of the United States of America. It is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the western United States, with the midwestern United States and northeastern United States to its north and the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico to its south.
Baker 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.
George Samuel Schuyler was an African-American author, journalist, and social commentator known for his conservatism after he had supported socialism.
She 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. She protested Italy's invasion of Ethiopia and supported the campaign to free the Scottsboro defendants in Alabama, a group of young black men accused of raping two white women. She also founded the Negro History Club at the Harlem Library and regularly attended lectures and meetings at the YWCA.
The Works Progress Administration was an American New Deal agency, employing millions of people to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. It was established on May 6, 1935, by Executive Order 7034. In a much smaller project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. The four projects dedicated to these were: the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), the Historical Records Survey (HRS), the Federal Theatre Project (FTP), the Federal Music Project (FMP), and the Federal Art Project (FAP). In the Historical Records Survey, for instance, many former slaves in the South were interviewed; these documents are of great importance for American history. Theater and music groups toured throughout America, and gave more than 225,000 performances. Archaeological investigations under the WPA were influential in the rediscovery of pre-Columbian Native American cultures, and the development of professional archaeology in the US.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Roosevelt is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in American history, as well as among the most influential figures of the 20th century. Though he has also been subject to much criticism, he is generally rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1936. It responded to needs for relief, reform, and recovery from the Great Depression. Major federal programs included the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). They provided support for farmers, the unemployed, youth and the elderly. The New Deal included new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen sharply. New Deal programs included both laws passed by Congress as well as presidential executive orders during the first term of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
During this time, Baker lived with and married her college sweetheart, T. J. (Bob) Roberts. They divorced in 1958. Ella Baker rarely discussed her private life or marital status. According to fellow activist, Bernice Johnson Reagon, many women within 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 within the movement.
Baker befriended John Henrik Clarke, a future scholar and activist; Pauli Murray, a future writer and civil rights lawyer, and others who would become lifelong friends.The Harlem Renaissance influenced Baker in 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 modern civil rights movement of the mid-20th century.
In 1938 Baker began her long association with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which was 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 highest-ranking woman in the NAACP. 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 and not the top down. She believed that the work of the branches 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 the eloquence or credentials of its top leaders, but in the commitment and hard work of the rank and file membership and the willingness and ability of those members to engage in a process of discussion, debate, and decision making.She especially stressed the importance of young people and women in the organization.
While traveling throughout the South on behalf of the NAACP, 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 to political work was one important aspect of Baker's effective effort to recruit more members, both men and women, into the NAACP.Baker 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 revolutionary 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 New York branch of the NAACP 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 Walter Francis White's dominating role as executive secretary.
She did not believe that the program should be primarily channeled through White, the executive secretary, and the national office, but rather through the people out in the field. She lobbied to reduce the rigid hierarchy, place more power in the hands of capable local leaders, and give greater responsibility and autonomy to local branches.In 1953 she resigned from the presidency to run for the New York City Council on the Liberal Party ticket, but she was unsuccessful.
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 Walker]] started 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."
In the 1960s, the idea of "participatory democracy" became popular among political activists, including those involved in the Civil Rights Movement. It combined the traditional appeal of democracy with an innovative tie to broader grass roots participation.
There were three primary emphases to this new movement:
Ella Baker 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.
Ella Baker and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as 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.
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. [ citation needed ]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."
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 would take years.
In SCEF, Baker worked closely with her friend Anne Braden, a white, longtime activist against racism. 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 she had mixed feelings about communism. She became a staunch defender of Anne Braden and her husband Carl; she encouraged SNCC to reject red-baiting because she viewed it 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.
In 1967 Ella 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. Baker 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.
Ella 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.She left no diaries.
The civil rights movement in the United States was a decades-long struggle with the goal of enforcing constitutional and legal rights for African Americans that other Americans already enjoyed. With roots that dated back to the Reconstruction era during the late 19th century, the movement achieved its largest legislative gains in the mid-1960s, after years of direct actions and grassroots protests that were organized from the mid-1950s until 1968. Encompassing strategies, various groups, and organized social movements to accomplish the goals of ending legalized racial segregation, disenfranchisement, and discrimination in the United States, the movement, using major nonviolent campaigns, eventually secured new recognition in federal law and federal protection for all Americans.
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was one of the major American Civil Rights Movement organizations of the 1960s. It emerged from the first wave of student sit-ins and formed at a May 1960 meeting organized by Ella Baker at Shaw University. After its involvement in the Voter Education Project, SNCC grew into a large organization with many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to support its work in the South, allowing full-time organizers to have a small salary. Many unpaid grassroots organizers and activists also worked with SNCC on projects in the Deep South, often becoming targets of racial violence and police brutality. SNCC played a seminal role in the freedom rides, the 1963 March on Washington, Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Selma campaigns, the March Against Fear and other historic events. SNCC may be best known for its community organizing, including voter registration, freedom schools, and localized direct action all over the country, but especially in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Kwame Ture was a Trinidadian-American prominent socialist organizer in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the global Pan-African movement. Born in Trinidad, he grew up in the United States from the age of 11 and became an activist while attending Howard University. He eventually developed the Black Power movement, first while leading the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), later serving as the "Honorary Prime Minister" of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and lastly as a leader of the All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), also referred to as the Freedom Democratic Party, was an American political party created in 1964 as a branch of the populist Freedom Democratic organization in the state of Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. It was organized by African Americans and whites from Mississippi to challenge the established power of the Mississippi Democratic Party, which at the time allowed participation only by whites, when African-Americans made up 40% of the state population.
Freedom Summer, or the Mississippi Summer Project, was a volunteer campaign in the United States launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African-American voters as possible in Mississippi. Blacks had been cut off from voting since the turn of the century due to barriers to voter registration and other laws. The project also set up dozens of Freedom Schools, Freedom Houses, and community centers in small towns throughout Mississippi to aid the local black population.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC, which is closely associated with its first president, Martin Luther King Jr., had a large role in the American civil rights movement.
The Selma to Montgomery marches were three protest marches, held in 1965, along the 54-mile (87 km) highway from Selma, Alabama to the state capital of Montgomery. The marches were organized by nonviolent activists to demonstrate the desire of African-American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression, and were part of a broader voting rights movement underway in Selma and throughout the American South. By highlighting racial injustice, they contributed to passage that year of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal achievement of the Civil Rights Movement.
Fannie Lou Hamer was an American voting and women's rights activist, 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). She was also a co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus, an organization created to recruit, train, and support women of all races who wish to seek election to government office.
The March Against Fear was a major 1966 demonstration in the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Activist James Meredith launched the event on June 5, 1966, intending to make a solitary walk from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, a distance of 220 miles, to counter the continuing racism in the Mississippi Delta after passage of federal civil rights legislation in the previous two years and to encourage African Americans in the state to register to vote. He invited only individual black men to join him and did not want it to be a large media event dominated by major civil rights organizations.
Diane Judith Nash is an American civil rights activist, and a leader and strategist of the student wing of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Big Six refer to the chairmen, presidents, and leaders of six prominent civil rights organizations active during the height of the Civil Rights Movement who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.
Septima Poinsette Clark was an American educator and civil rights activist. Clark developed the literacy and citizenship workshops that played an important role in the drive for voting rights and civil rights for African Americans in the Civil Rights Movement. Septima Clark's work was commonly under-appreciated by Southern male activists. She became known as the "Queen mother" or "Grandmother" of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Martin Luther King, Jr. commonly referred to Clark as "The Mother of the Movement". Clark's argument for her position in the Civil Rights Movement was one that claimed "knowledge could empower marginalized groups in ways that formal legal equality couldn't."
Gloria Richardson Dandridge is best known as the leader of the Cambridge Movement, a civil rights struggle in the early 1960s in Cambridge, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore. Recognized as a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement at the time, she was one of the signatories to "The Treaty of Cambridge", signed in July 1963 with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and state and local officials after the riot the month before.
Annie Bell Robinson Devine (1912–2000) was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement.
Victoria Jackson Gray Adams was an American civil rights activist from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She was one of the founding members of the influential Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) was a coalition of the major Civil Rights Movement organizations operating in Mississippi. COFO was formed in 1961 to coordinate and unite voter registration and other civil rights activities in the state and oversee the distribution of funds from the Voter Education Project. It was instrumental in forming the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. COFO member organizations included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
The Albany Movement was a desegregation and voter's rights coalition formed in Albany, Georgia, in November of 1961. Local black leaders and ministers, as well as members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded the group. In December 1961, at the request of some senior leaders of The Albany Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) became involved in assisting the Albany group with organizing protests and demonstrations meant to draw attention to the continued and often brutally enforced racial segregation practices in Southwest Georgia. However, many leaders in SNCC were fundamentally opposed to King and the SCLC's involvement, as they felt a more democratic grassroots approach aimed at long-term solutions was preferable for the area than King's tendency towards short-term, authoritatively run organizing.
Unita Zelma Blackwell is an American civil rights activist who was the first African American woman, and the tenth African American, to be elected mayor in the U.S. state of Mississippi. Blackwell was a project director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and helped organize voter drives for African Americans across Mississippi. She is also a founder of the US China Peoples Friendship Association, a group dedicated to promoting cultural exchange between the United States and China. Barefootin', Blackwell's autobiography, published in 2006, charts her activism.
Crusade for Citizenship was the 1958 voter project organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The goal of the project was to double the number of African-American voters in the southern United States for the 1958 and 1960 elections. It was initially organized by Ella Baker as Associate Director of the SCLC, and Reverend John Tilley as the first Executive Director. While encouraging discussion and actions related to voter registration, it did not meet its goal of creating a mass movement. Southern registrars resisted registering African Americans and many blacks were reluctant or fearful to challenge existing exclusions under Jim Crow society.
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