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The Life Of Leaders Essay

1549 words - 7 pages

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States took place mostly during the 1960s. This movement had many strong faces ready to lead a movement of African-Americans to get the rights that they deserved. However, it was two of the less-recognizable faces that helped shape the movement. Ella Baker, who wanted to put a change in the system, and Fannie Lou Hamer, who is well known for her actions on trying to gather support, were two women who helped change the way the Civil Rights Movement played out. The SNCC, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was formed to prevent violence from younger blacks, and to try and settle the issue of segregation in a peaceful manner. Fannie Lou Hamer ...view middle of the document...

When Fannie Lou Hamer was not working in the fields during her adolescent stages of life she was obtaining what knowledge she could at the Mississippian schools in her area. Her schooling lasted about four months, which was on average three months shorter than the average year for whites. The inequality that existed within the schools that Fannie Lou went to was another factor that made her persistent in change for the African-American race. The school systems were terribly underfunded, and the textbooks the African-American children were learning from were pilfered with racist propaganda. The racist South completely diminished the power of the public school education within segregated African-American school systems. From a long life in the field, to short times in the classroom, Fannie Lou got a glimpse of the racist undertones of a neglectful white class.
Ella Baker spent her entire life trying to turn the race system on its head, but understandably that was going to take some time. Baker, who was born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia, but then in her early stages of childhood moved to Littleton, North Carolina. Her childhood was different from Fannie Lou Hamer’s in a sense that she was well taken care of, and very nurtured throughout her youngest years. Coming from a very strong religious background, she found her family being a staple for the community she lived in. She was part of a family that viewed itself as a role model for the rest of the African-American community, and representatives towards the white world. This is considered to be a factor in the development of many of her leadership qualities, because her family was so staunchly centered in the middle of African-American culture she was expected to lead at a young age.
Another factor towards her involvement in the movement was her mother, Anna Ross Baker. Her mother led a life of leadership for the National Women’s Convention, and Ella Baker admired her mother’s courage deeply, which likely sparked the fire to make change. Her grandmother, Bet for short, was also very influential in molding her mind into wanting to make a change, because she told her constantly about the atrocity that was once known as slavery. Bet told her stories of violent sexual encounters that white slave masters, and this was an essential part of what was known as American slavery. The powerful stories her grandmother would tell, procured a strong resistance towards current political schemes, and racial epithet’s that ruled America.
Both women’s early childhood greatly effected the outcome of their political careers. Many leadership qualities were born during the early stages of adolescence, and from surrounding factors their ideals evolved immensely. These two women were able to gather what information they could from their surrounding people, and form strong feelings about changing the landscape of American politics and racial segregation throughout. Both women were strong in...

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