On the Lived Theology Reading List: Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement

Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision, by Barbara RansbyA Radical Democratic Vision

In Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, Barbara Ransby chronicles Baker’s long and rich political career as an organizer, an intellectual, and a teacher, from her early experiences in depression-era Harlem to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Baker was a gifted grassroots organizer, a national officer and key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a prime mover in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle. She managed to made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles, all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white.

Beyond documenting the extraordinary life of Ella Baker, Ransby uses this book to paint a vivid picture of the African American fight for justice and its intersections with other progressive struggles worldwide across the twentieth century.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Ransby, a historian of indisputable talent and skill, provides numerous intricate, heretofore unknown facts and details of Ella Baker’s life while growing up in the South and the path that led her to involvement in civil and human rights efforts. . . . This is a superb book.”—Encounter

“A critical and useful analysis of the role of this largely unsung heroine of the movement. . . . This well-researched study of the life of Ella Baker will make a valuable contribution to the voluminous literature on the black freedom struggle in the twentieth century.”—Journal of Southern History

“The strength of Ransby’s work is in her detailed accounting of Baker’s political life, accompanied by an analysis of Black struggle in the 20th century.”—The Crisis

“The definitive biography of one of America’s most important civil rights leaders in the twentieth century.”—Religious Studies Review


For more information on the publication, click here.

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