Honoring Black History Month: Ella Baker & June Jordan

“To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin to love yourself, value yourself. And that’s political, in its most profound way.”


June Jordan (1936-2002) was a passionate poet and activist who fought for civil, LGBT+ and women’s rights. Throughout the years, she taught at Yale University, Sarah Lawrence College, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and UC Berkeley where she founded the influential poetry program, Poetry for the People. As a creator of over 25 published works and recipient of many prestigious awards and honors, June Jordan certainly made her mark in history as powerful agent for social change.

Spotlight selected by Maureen Egan, Program Director


“The major job was getting people to understand that they had something within their power that they could use, and it could only be used if they understood what was happening and how group action could counter violence.”


Ella Baker (1903-1986) impassioned by her grandmother’s stories of life under slavery and inspired by her resilience in the face of great adversity, Ella Baker dedicated much of her life to social justice. She was a behind-the-scenes force that strongly believed in the frame of mind that everyone can play a role and that each individual has strengths that they can bring to the Black Freedom movement. Baker was an active participant in some of the most influential civil rights groups of her time including the NAACP, Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. While she had a preference for working behind the scenes instead of taking on a public leadership position, many regard her as an key leader in the movement towards Black Freedom.

Spotlight selected by Mary Martinez, Peer Services Manager


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