As part of the celebration for Doubletake winning the 2015 Best Mystery Award from the Texas Association of Authors, I decided to do a Kindle Countdown deal, so the book will be only $1.99 for today and tomorrow, then it will go up to $2.99 for two days before going back to full price on Friday. Of course, it is still free for Kindle Unlimited.
What I’m Reading: Fallout by Garry Disher. This is another discussion book for the online mystery book club I belong to. I finished The Wood Beyond by Reginald Hill and enjoyed it very much. I’m just getting started with Fallout, so I’m not sure if I will like it as well as I did the Hill book.
Celebrating Strong Women: When reading about the Civil Rights Movement we might find a lot about Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, but much less has been publicized about another strong woman of that era, Ella Baker. She was born on December 13, 1903, in Norfolk, Virginia and grew up in North Carolina. Ella was influenced by her grandmother who had been a slave and had been whipped for refusing to marry a man chosen for her by the slave owner.
Ella was inspired by her grandmother’s pride and courage, and spent most of her life acting on that inspiration. While a student at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, she challenged school policies that she thought were unfair, and after she graduated, she moved to New York City where she joined social activist organizations.
Between 1930 and 1940, Ella was active with the Young Negroes Cooperative League, whose purpose was to develop black economic power through collective planning. She was committed to economic justice for all people and once said, “People cannot be free until there is enough work in this land to give everybody a job.”
In 1940, Ella turned to activism toward defeating Jim Crow Laws in the deep South. She moved to Atlanta to help organize Martin Luther King’s new organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). She also ran a voter registration campaign called the Crusade for Citizenship.
After the historic 1960 sit in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, Ella moved back to North Carolina and organized meetings at Shaw University with young activists. This was the birth of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee SNCC. The vision of SNCC was to use nonviolent direct action to achieve racial equality, and that organization joined with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to organize the 1961 Freedom Rides.
With Ella Baker’s guidance and encouragement, SNCC became one of the foremost advocates for human rights in the country. Like Martin Luther King Jr, Ella had a dream abut freedom and justice and racial equality, “This may only be a dream of mine, but I think it can be made real.”
Maybe her words aren’t as quotable as Dr. King’s, but her legacy is just as inspiring.
I will be honest and admit that I had not heard of Ella Baker before I did a search for women of the Civil Rights Movement. What about you?