We have discussed all sorts of protestors and race relation activists in our class. I thought McKinney’s discussion on mobilization and how it relates with organization was one of the most thought-provoking. In 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was held in Atlanta. One of this group’s main philosophies was non-violent direct action. Even though she is often not listed as one of the main founders of the organization, Ella Baker helped uproot and mobilize this group along with Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King.
According to the free online dictionary, organization is, “the act of organizing something”, or, “the structure or arrangement of related or connected items.” Essentially, it is the noun that describes a group or a single body that links items or beings together. On the other hand, mobilization is described as, “the act of assembling and putting into readiness for war or other emergency.” Baker, along with the other members of the S.C.L.C., realized that just by “organizing” and forming a group against civil rights, they weren’t going to be able to combat the issue. They knew they had to come together, and organize, ALONG WITH mobilizing to face the issue of civil rights head on.
Additionally, it amazes me that Ella Baker was such an influential force within the movement, but she is not known as one of the “head figures” for civil rights. Most likely, this is because she is a woman. If women were influential during the movement, they were always depicted as passive and quite shy and withdrawn; when in fact, they were often the power force of advocating civil rights. Moreover, Baker was an advocate for self-defense, NOT non-violence. She was definitely not a proponent of direct violence, but she believed that defending your honor through self-defense was better than non-violence. This directly contradicts the female stereotype during the movement of being passive and timid.
In the online dictionary, it states that civil rights are, “the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality.” The key word I would like address in this definition is citizens. I am dumbfounded that people who were trying to attain civil rights for the black community, also discriminated against women. We are ALL equal citizens; therefore, we all deserve the same respect and rights of our neighbor. Even though we made great strides for civil rights during this time period, I believe that our society still has a long way to go.