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Ella Baker papers, 1926-1986.
Baker, Ella, 1903-1986.
- 5.5 linear ft. (1 box)
Boxes 13-15 offsite.
The Ella Baker papers provide a snapshot of Baker's lifeas an activist and visionary for a variety of progressiveorganizations in the United States, from the 1930s throughthe 1980s. Documented here are the organizations and individuals that were central to Baker's network such as George Schulyer, The Young Women's Christian Association, In Friendship, A. Phillip Randolph, and Bayard Rustin. Thecollection, however, does not document her personal life nor does it fully capture her philosophy or political ideas.
The Personal Papers, 1927-1980, series contains very little biographical and personal information about Baker. Filed with the Personal Papers is research material collected by Baker biographer, Joanne Grant, while workingon the book, Ella Baker: Freedom Bound (1998) and the filmdocumentary, Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker, which she wrote, produced and directed.
The Cooperatives and Consumer Education, 1930-1975, series contains correspondence, writings, flyers, memoranda, announcements for a variety of programs, forumsand fund-raising events promoting co-operatives and consumer education, and printed material of the Cooperative League of the U.S.A, (1931-1940), the Young Negroes' Co-operative League, Harlem's Own Cooperative, where Ella Baker worked as the education and publicity officer, the National Association of Consumers, and the Works Progress Administration.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1936-1961, series is divided into two sub-series, National Office and Branches. Included in the National Office sub-series are scattered annual reports, conferenceprograms, resolutions, minutes for board of directors' meetings, and reports from some of the departments to the board, primarily the Department of Branches, 1940s. The Branches sub-series contains scattered files for a small group of branch offices. Included are memoranda of the NAACP New York Branch education committee (1954-1957), of which Baker was chair.
The bulk of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,1956-1968, series consists of correspondence (1956-1963) and memoranda (1958-1960). Included are a two page letter to New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner from Nathan H. Schwerner, the father of slain civil rights worker MichaelSchwerner, after his son was murdered, and letters exchanged between Baker and Stanley D. Levison.
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, 1960-1976,series contains the field reports (1960-1963) that document the daily routine and the challenges faced by theSNCC field workers as they attempted to do community organizing voter registration. throughout the South. Thereis also a copy of a speech by Carmichael in 1967 on the issue of the Vietnam War. There are memos and fund-raisingappeal letters 1963-1967 from Friends of SNCC, a group of New York City based supporters. A folder on Hubert "Rap" Brown, Carmichael's successor as chairman of SNCC, contains some information about his tenure as chairman andhis multi-state arrest and eventual convictions during this time.
The Other Organizations, 1930's-1980's, series is arranged in four sub-series: Civil Rights, 1950's-1970 n.d., Student Movement, 1959-1973, Politics, 1964-1977, and General, 1935-1967. This series most effectively demonstrates the expanse of Baker's activism, organizing skills and political savvy in that it contains folders forthirty plus organizations in which her involvement extended beyond membership.
The Printed Material, 1930s-1980s, series contains published and unpublished articles, monographs and manualsabout various movements, causes and grassroots organizing.Organizational newspapers and newspaper clippings related to some of the many areas of Baker's work are housed here.
Ella Baker (1903-1986) was a behind-the-scene strategist in many of the American progressive movements of the 20th century. Baker's career as an activist, leader (a title she would never have used to identify herself) and grassroots community organizer spanned from the late 1920sto the time of her death in 1986. The projects, organizations and movements she worked for, directed, initiated, or supported included the consumer education movement via the conduit of the Young Negroes' Co-operative League (YNCL) during the Great Depression era ofthe 1930s; the National Association for the Advancement ofColored People (NAACP) in the 1940s; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in the 1950's and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s; along with some fifty other entities.
Controlled Access Terms
- Baker, Ella, 1903-1986.
- Schulyer, George.
- Young Negroes' Co-operative League.
- Cooperative League of the U.S.A.
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
- Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
- Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
- Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
- African American women civil rights workers.
- Civil rights workers -- United States.
- Civil rights movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
- African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century.
- Southern States -- Race relations.
- United States -- Race relations.
Additional Creator Names
- Schuyler, George Samuel, 1895-
- Grant, Joanne.