Ella Baker Book Club Series


A book club will occur via Zoom to engage in discussion about Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision. Each week, a different set of speakers from the partnering organizations will present important topics from the book and related topics to Black Lives Matter and the #SAYHERNAME movement. The author, Barbara Ransby, will serve as the final speaker for the book club.

One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement, Ella Baker (1903-1986) was an activist whose remarkable career spanned fifty years and touched thousands of lives.

A gifted grassroots organizer, Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle. She was 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 made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles that included W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr., all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white.

In this deeply researched biography, 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. Ransby shows Baker to be a complex figure whose radical, democratic worldview, commitment to empowering the black poor, and emphasis on group-centered, grassroots leadership set her apart from most of her political contemporaries. Beyond documenting an extraordinary life, the book paints a vivid picture of the African American fight for justice and its intersections with other progressive struggles worldwide across the twentieth century.

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In order to attend the Ella Baker Book Club Series, you must register for the event. Please make sure to double-check your registration, especially entering a valid email address, before clicking submit. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is not responsible for any user-error submissions.

Upon registering, you will receive a confirmation that you are attending this event. For security purposes, our office will send you the link to the recurring Zoom sessions as the date gets closer.

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Get your copy of the book today!

Wichita State University students, faculty and staff will be access a digital copy of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision book for FREE through the Ablah Library at Wichita State University. Community members who do not have access to the e-Book portal in Ablah Library will be able to purchase the book at Barnes & Noble.

For more information, contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at (316) 978-3034.