You are browsing the archive for Ella Baker.

by dawn

They Would Not Be Kept Down

October 22, 2010 in 1960s-1970s, Social history

Black woman were often more successful due to the promoted value of education in African American Community. According to Paula Giddings, blue collar male workers were paid more than females so sons were encouraged to drop out before daughters (329). 7.2% of Black females held profession jobs compared with 3.1% of Black males (Giddings, 329). A 9.6% of the African American physicians were black woman compared to only 7% of White female physicians (332). African American woman also felt more confident within their successful occupation when asked 74% felt if they suited their career were as only 49% of White females felt that they did a study done in 1964 (Giddings, 333).

During the civil rights movement Black organizations fighting for African American rights often were not interested in supporting female African Americans. Black men within such organizations such as the SNCC, Black Panther Party, CORE, and the SCLC seemed to only allow women within to gain so much power. According to Giddings, the men concerned about their masculinity tried to keep woman from speaking , having positions over men. They expected woman to do the grunt work and other non-leadership jobs such as taking notes, serving food and such.

Ella Baker a woman heavily involved in the SCLC, wrote: “There would never be any role for me in a leadership capacity with the SCLC. Why? First, I am a woman…. The combination of the basic attitude of Men, and especially ministers, as to what the role of women in their church setups is- that of taking orders, not providing leadership.”(Giddings, 312).
Angela Davis worked with the Los Angeles chapter of SNCC. In When and Where I Enter, Davis discussed how the men did less work than the women but then “women where involved in something important, they began to talk about women taking over the organization calling in a matriarchal coup d’etat.” (Giddings, 316).

This kind of treatment was common though out Black organizations. Within the Black Panther Party Kathleen Cleaver who was an officer encountered similar problems stating “if I suggested them, the suggestion might be rejected; if they were suggested by a man the suggestion would be implemented… the fact that the suggestion came from a woman gave it some lesser value.” (Giddings, 317).
Gloria Richardson participation in a rally was shouted down by member of CORE who called her a “Castrator” (Giddings, 317). Richardson’s experience expresses the fears of the men so bluntly. Men who were already oppressed by whites did not want to lose power and masculinity to their female counterparts.

Giddings, Paula. When and Where I Enter.  1983. William Morrow and Company, Inc.

by Syle

A Successful Activist: Ella Baker

October 14, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, Political history, Social history

Ella Baker was a very prominent and successful leader. She was part of many important groups and worked along side many of the biggest names during the civil rights era. Her grandmother was a slave, and growing up she would listen to stories of slave revolts. She graduated college from Shaw University, as the valedictorian of her class. Afterwards she went on to do great things as an activist and became a great leader.

Ella Baker was part of many well known groups that were essential to the Civil Rights movement. She did much of her work behind the scenes and was even responsible for some of these groups starting in the first place. She started her work with teh NAACP and spent much of her life working with them. Much more noteworthy however, she was part of the reason the Southern Christian Leadership Conference even began. She became the first staffmember for the SCLC and was so for long time. While working with the SCLC she worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King who was the first president of the organization. During her career she also helped jumpstart the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and began working with them for many years.

Ella Baker was a very important woman for the Civil Rights Movement, even though she did much of her work behind the scenes. Starting these organizations shows the kind of leader she was and her desire to make things equal. She worked with many people such as Dr. Martin Luther King, W.E.B. Dubois, and Anne Braden. But has also been noted as being a mentor for other people such as Rosa Parks. Ella Baker was an amazing woman with a lot of drive and was a very key part of the Civil Rights Movement.

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