Discussion: What We Can Learn From Ella Baker In A Post-Ferguson Era

Discussion for article #231489

We could use a woman like that right now.


Dreier has a lot of nerve. He doesn’t even see the irony of his own article. He writes, “[Baker] would also urge the activists to make sure they transform their outrage into an ongoing movement that can survive beyond the immediate reaction to the epidemic of police abuses.” He purports to know what Ms. Baker would require in Racist America 2014. What does it say about a country in which the targets of racism, not the architects of racism, must continually fight the uphill battle against racism? And then, adding insult to injury, must be instructed on how to combat racism by someone securely ensconced in white privilege. Maybe Dreier has forgotten that this generation has never been denied service at a lunch counter. They may not have the same historical experience with racism as their grandparents and great-grandparents. They actually take the Constitution at its word.

What would Dreier instruct white people to do? Nothing apparently. While young activists are battling to be heard, their white compatriots are enjoying life, not getting gunned down, and happily gentrifying Baltimore and DC.

I am proud to say that my friend, Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender, Retired was one of the students who participated in the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter sit-in in 1960.


I grew up during this period of the Civil Rights Era. Because my mother was a proud racialist, incredible women like Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer were role models who were continually highlighted.

Ms. Baker understood what organizing was all about. You keep going, you don’t quit. You find alternative ways to move on to the stated objective when something doesn’t pan out. Build on the successes and learn from the failures.

I have no doubts Ms. Baker would probably do just what Dreier says she would do…suggest to the activists that they transform their outrage into an ongoing movement that goes beyond the current crisis. This is a time for engagement that will have long lasting results. Those who want the status quo to remain as is, do not want to see this movement grow.


Sadly, although laws were made letting black folks go almost everywhere white folks can go, laws don’t change what some folks think or how laws get applied. And I’m not saying anything here that all folks, white or black, don’t know. They may be fewer in number but, there are still a lot of white folks, most still alive from those days but some born after, that still judge folks by the color of their skin.