Sex and Caste at 50

Ella Baker

Casey Hayden met Ella Baker at the second SNCC conference in October of 1960. Hayden eventually worked as a campus traveller for Baker's YWCA human relations project aimed at recruiting southern white students to the movement.  As she recalled in 2014, the project involved "Organizing illegal integrated weekend "human relations workshops'." The project was funded by the Marshall Field Foundation.  She worked closely with Ella Baker out of the Atlanta office, housed in the same building as SNCC headquarters, during the fall and winter of 1961-1962. (Deep in our hearts 346).

Baker, the founding mother of SNCC, worked in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, before helping students to found SNCC.  As Baker wrote in" Bigger Than A Hamburge" a summary of the speech she gave at the founding SNCC conference, 

Whether it [the student sit in movement] lives up to this high evaluation or not will, in a large measure, be determined by the extent to which there is more effective training in and understanding of non-violent principles and practices, in group dynamics, and in the re-direction into creative channels of the normal frustrations and hostilities that result from second-class citizenship.

Baker deeply influenced Hayden's approach to organizing including rotating leadership, grassroots power, and consensus building.


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