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Educating Harlem Lecture: Ella Baker: Radical Educator with Harlem Roots, with Barbara Ransby (postponed)

Ella Baker received her own political education on the streets of Harlem, but she also became a teacher there. Working in a New Deal Program called the Worker's Education Project, she trained adult students in what can only be called a version of Freire's pedagogy for liberation. There, in classrooms in the Harlem Y and Harlem Public Library, Ella Baker sharpened her own ideas and her approach to popular education. She would pass those lessons on to the young people in the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee three decades later.

Barbara Ransby will talk about Ella Baker's own intellectual development on the streets of Harlem, the cast of characters who were her informal teachers, and how she herself became a Black Freedom Movement.

Barbara Ransby is a Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and African American Studies and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Director of the Gender and Women's Studies Program. She is an historian, writer, and longtime political activist. Ransby has published dozens of articles and essays in popular and scholarly venues. She is the author of an award-winning biography of civil rights activist Ella Baker, entitled Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (University of North Carolina, 2003). She just completed a political biography of Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson (a TC alumna), entitled Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson (Yale University Press, 2013). Ransby is also working on a study of African American feminist organizations in the 1970s. She serves on the editorial board of the London-based journal, Race and Class, and a number of non-profit civic and media organizations. Professor Ransby received a BA in History from Columbia University and an MA and PhD in History from the University of Michigan.

This talk will be re-scheduled for the 2013-2014 academic year, TBD.


The Educating Harlem Lecture Series provokes us to rethink the stories we tell about learning, schooling, and community, and to reimagine the place of history and humanistic inquiry in education today. Invited scholars have defined their scholarship, and their lives as scholars, in ways that challenge conventional boundaries between historical research, writing, teaching, and engagement with public life. Speakers offer stories of the place of learning and schooling in communities that focus on Harlem and extend beyond its borders.

Educating Harlem is sponsored by the Teachers College Institute for Urban and Minority Education and the Center on History and Education, the Program in History and Education, the Office of the Provost, and Gottesman Libraries.

Individuals with disabilities are invited to request reasonable accommodations including, but not limited to sign language interpretation, Braille or large print materials, and a campus map of accessible features. Address these requests to the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities at (212) 678-3689,, or Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at (212) 678-3853 V/TTY,




  • Jennifer Govan
  • 212-678-3022
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