From the Vault: A Salute to Ella Baker 1968

Ella Baker was born on December 13 1903 in Norfolk Virginia. After graduating from Shaw University as Valedictorian in 1927, she would begin working for the NAACP in 1940 until 1953.

Along the way she would count W.E.B. Dubois, A. Phillip Randolph, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Thurgood Marshall as colleagues.

In 1957 she would move to Atlanta Georgia and become the first employee of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She worked tirelessly in the Civil Rights and Human Rights Movement while mentoring such luminaries as Rosa Parks and Stokely Carmichael.

This salute took place on April 24th 1968,
just 20 days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Nation and the African American communities in particular were in deep mourning and needed strength to continue the struggles that lay ahead.

Several important Civil Rights leaders and activists decided to honor Ella Baker by giving her a Living Salute. What a great idea… so many times such honors in the Social Movement end up post mortem Memorials…

But in this, case many of the leaders of the Movement came out to honor this understated Civil and Human Rights activist. We’ll hear from:

– The then National Director of The Congress of Racial Equality or C.O.R.E. Floyd Bixler McKissick,

– Anne Braden, asked to sit in for an ailing Rosa Parks, a white woman from Kentucky whose work in the Civil Rights Movement resulted in Blacklisting from local employment

– Black Power superstars Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown,

-Karen Molloy the wife imprisoned Draft Resister Joe Malloy,

– Professor, author and friend Howard Zinn.

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