United States History Since 1877 1302 6002
October 9, 2014
Ella Baker: Freedom Bound by Joanne Grant Ella Baker: Freedom bound is a biography authored by Joanne Grant about Ella Josephine Baker. Ella Baker was human rights and civil rights activist of African-American descent. The civil and human rights activist was largely unknown because she preferred to work from behind the scenes. Nonetheless, the literary work of Joanne Grant illuminated her activities as a fervent leader of the twentieth century. Grant's thesis in the book is the influence of Ella Baker of civil rights movements through the choice of leadership at the grassroots level. Grant argues that her approach to leadership entailed participating in those activities that affect one’s life. In authoring this biography, Grant highlighted the influence of the largely unknown Ella Baker, especially her activities towards the civil rights movement. Additionally, she narrated the role of women in the civil rights movement. In my response to the book, I advance the argument that the book is exactly right and reflects the state of affairs at the time. Joanne Grant is qualified to write this biography because of her diverse experience and participation in the civil rights movement. Her involvement in the civil rights movement as the assistant to W.E.B Du Bois, the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The author has also worked as a correspondent for the National Guardian. This independent newspaper carried articles with strong leftist radicalism. In addition to being a member of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, Joanne Grant was also worked closely with Ella Baker.1 This qualifies her to author this biography.
In order to support her thesis, Grant offers an account of the activities that Baker undertook. This illuminates on her stance that people need to participate in the activities that affect their lives. For instance, Grant details her efforts to increase the rates of voter registration, desegregation of schools and encouraging African Americans to participate in electoral politics. Additionally, Grant adduces evidence on the focus on grassroots politics in an effort to affect political change. This supports her stance that her preference of grassroots politics to publicity and the limelight influenced the civil rights movement. The author supports this evidence with eyewitness accounts from when she was Miss Baker’s associate. The use of this primary source offers an original account of Miss Baker’s efforts in the civil rights movement. The evidence presented by Grant offers dissenting perspectives. Even though Grant praises Ella Baker for her influence in the civil rights movement, she also narrates instances when her efforts conflicted with other leaders of the civil rights movement. For instance, Grant narrates about how her incessant approach to grassroots politics conflicted with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.2 Additionally, she negates the argument that her preference for grassroots politics denied her the limelight. On the contrary, Grant argues that this choice effectively placed her in the flurry of civil rights movement activities.
The approach by the author made the book easy to read. Firstly, she does not just present information that is available in history books. The author traces her combative and incessant nature to her grandparents. This denotes a continuity of resistance among the African American people. The author also includes elements in the environment at the time that helped mold her into the ardent civil and human rights activist that she became. These elements include her education, the middle-class family in which she grew, the legacy of her family as rebels and the influence of the Harlem Renaissance. This creates a context that enables the reader to understand the book. I argue that the perspectives advanced by the