The University of California, Santa Barbara, has established a visiting professorship to honor Ella Baker, a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and its network of Freedom Schools. Baker was born in 1903, the granddaughter of slaves. She was the valedictorian of the Class of 1927 at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She joined the NAACP in 1940 as a field secretary and then served as director of branches. She later move the Atlanta to help organize Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Baker died in 1986.
The first holder of the Ella Baker Visiting Professorship is Shana Redmond, an associate professor of American and ethnic studies at the University of Southern California. While at the University of California, Santa Barbara, she will teach, lecture, conduct research, and produce a special edition of the BLST Review.
“Shana Redmond perfectly fits our expectations for the Ella Baker Visiting Professor,” said Jeffrey Stewart, professor and chair of Black studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “She is very enthusiastic about working with undergraduates. Indeed, her personal embrace of the spirit of the Ella Baker Professorship and her sense of the larger possibilities of collaboration with students that the professorship embodies made her a clear choice for the position.”
Dr. Redmond is the author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (New York University Press, 2014). She is a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in African American and American studies from Yale University.