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Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (Gender and American Culture) New edition Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0807856161
ISBN-10: 0807856169
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Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (Gender and American Culture) + At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Moving and invaluable. ("The Nation")

Review

A stunning achievement by a brilliant historian. Ransby's exquisite investigation of Ella Baker is grounded in rich archival research and a wealth of oral interviews. In this illuminating analysis, Ransby unveils the private life and dissects the public role played by a leader of the black freedom movement, at once well-known and revered by many but enigmatic even to those closest to her. This superb biography of an extraordinary radical democrat illuminates the intersection of power, struggle, and revolutionary transformation through the lens of a well-spent life.--Darlene Clark Hine, Michigan State University

|Ransby offers the grit and gleam of Baker's practical humanist vision of participatory democracy. . . . Ransby's is a remarkable biography worthy of her remarkable subject. Essential for all biography, civil rights, community organizing, feminism, and 20th century U.S. or black history collections.--Library Journal

|The definitive biography of one of America's most important civil rights leaders in the twentieth century.--Religious Studies Review

|The strength of Ransby's work is in her detailed accounting of Baker's political life, accompanied by an analysis of Black struggle in the 20th century.--The Crisis

|Moving and invaluable.--The Nation

|[An] excellent biograph[y] based on extensive research into manuscript collections, personal interviews, and secondary sources. . . . [A] significant biograph[y] of [a] significant wom[an]. . . . Show[s] what strong, dedicated women could do for social change during decades when women weren't supposed to do anything but support their husbands and care for their children. . . . Not only teach[es] us about the past but warn[s] us about a possible future.--Women's Review of Books

|Among the most vivid [civil rights] movement biographies of recent years.--Washington Post Book World

|[Ransby's] passionate and demanding book offers a striking, thorough exposition of Baker's expansive, radical, humanist vision.--Chicago Tribune

|Barbara Ransby's long-awaited biography of Ella Baker was certainly worth waiting for! This powerful, unforgettable story of one of the black freedom struggle's most influential and inspirational activists is at once scholarly, analytical, and deeply moving, essential reading for all who are interested in the possibilities of democracy.--John Dittmer, DePauw University

|In this compelling biography, Barbara Ransby guides us through the life of that extraordinary fighter for racial equality and social justice, Ella Jo Baker. To all of us who worked with Ella Baker in the movement, she was a person of legendary courage and inspiring intellectual power. She worked harder, saw farther, and reached deeper than anyone else in the struggle, not only for the rights of black people but for fundamental social change. All of her qualities shine through in this book, which is an important contribution not only to women's history and African American history but also to the history of this country.--Howard Zinn, Boston University

|Writing the biography of a legend is a daunting task, and it is one that Barbara Ransby has accomplished thoroughly and gracefully. . . . This book provides as fine an insight into gender politics in the civil rights movement as any one volume to date. . . . This profile of Baker and her ideas is too important to be missed.--American Historical Review

|Ensures that all who wish to know about Baker's tireless work can find a detailed account in one volume.--Black Issues Book Review

|This is a truly remarkable biography of a truly remarkable intellectual activist. Ella Baker, a legend in the black freedom movement, has been brought to life through this powerfully written study by historian Barbara Ransby. Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement will become, like Clayborne Carson's In Struggle, a standard in our interpretation of the civil rights era. Ransby's balanced and insightful interpretation of this courageous black visionary provides a wonderful model of what biography at its best can be.--Manning Marable, Columbia University

|Ella Baker was an unsung hero and intellectual giant of the black freedom struggle of the twentieth century. Ransby's biography is a magnificent and timely reminder that Baker's visionary voice, eloquent democratic silences, and unflinching faith in the power of ordinary people are much needed guides for the twenty-first century as well.--Lani Guinier, Harvard University

|[A] wise and well-crafted biography of Ella Baker.--Southern Exposure

|A significant contribution to our understanding of African American women's activism.--Journal of American History

|A magisterial rendering of one of the greatest radical Democrats in the twentieth century. Ella Baker is a grand exemplar of the organic intellectual to emerge from the depths of black culture with a sophisticated international vision and an incredible courage.--Cornel West, Princeton University

|Ransby, a historian of indisputable talent and skill, provides numerous intricate, heretofore unknown facts and details of Ella Barker's life while growing up in the South and the path that led her to involvement in civil and human rights efforts. . . . This is a superb book.--Encounter

|An intriguing and nuanced biography. . . . Ransby's treatment of Baker's life is not so much intent upon installing her name on the civil rights marquee as it is concerned with distilling the principles that Baker advocated and conveying her approach to social change. . . . Ransby has done much to carry Baker's legacy from margin to center and to bring her historical image into focus.--The Progressive

|A critical and useful analysis of the role of this largely unsung heroine of the movement. . . . This well-researched study of the life of Ella Barker will make a valuable contribution to the voluminous literature on the black freedom struggle in the twentieth century.--Journal of Southern History

|This book is worthy of its subject, giving us a rich and vivid portrait of the ultimate critical citizen, inviting us to ask ever more fundamental questions about democracy and about our own capacity for building it.--Southern Cultures

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Product Details

  • Series: Gender and American Culture
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; New edition edition (February 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807856169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807856161
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Timothy B. Tyson on May 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Ella Baker must be the most underrated figure in U.S. history. There are plenty of Presidents who have done less to shape their own times than Ella Baker. She decisively shaped two of the most important national civil rights organizations--the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference--and was the single most decisive figure in a third--the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Only Martin Luther King Jr. can be considered a rival in importance to the African American freedom movement, and yet most Americans have never even heard of Ella Baker. This exhaustively researched and well written biography should go a long way toward filling that gap.
This is a thoughful, analytical, and well-told story about a uniquely important American political life. It is a work of central importance in United States history and especially the history of the African American freedom movement. It is a cutting edge work of black women's history, too. I plan to buy a stack of them for Christmas presents, and to assign this book to my students for many years to come.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Inbatonrouge on December 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dr. Ransby provides a well-structured and insightful biography of one of the most important, yet least well-known, leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States. This book is strongly recommended for any student of modern U.S. history.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marc Steiner on May 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Barbara Ransby is a brilliant historian, a good writer who bring this important American figure to life. Ransby is one of our most important historians, and Ella Baker unknown to most Americans had profound influence on the 20th century and on the lives of young Civil Rights workers in the 1950's and 60's. Ransby captured it in all its power and nuance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cecil Bothwell VINE VOICE on June 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
Ella Baker was a charismatic, dynamic and enormously effective activist in the NAACP, the SCLC and SNCC (among numerous other movements she advocated and organized for). Her story is inspirational. As a role model she is superb. Unfortunately, Barbara Ransby got too far into the weeds in this biography, overburdening the telling with uninteresting details, and rendering what might have been a story of struggle and triumph into a bore. Read it if you are intensely interested in the minutiae of an activist life, but skip it if you are more interested in the play of events in the struggle for racial equality in the 20th century.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By tc on November 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One would think that it would be easy to make the biography of such an amazing person interesting. As a pleasure read this book is difficult because it is very dry. However, if you are doing research, I would recommend this book because it is full of details.
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