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Ella Baker, Barack Obama, and the Long Struggle for Equal Rights

June 19, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

In collaboration with the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History


A Dialogues webinar

In Celebration of Juneteenth

African American communities have long gathered for Juneteenth celebrations that commemorate the abolition of slavery, but these celebrations have also shown how the struggle for equal rights continues in our own time. This struggle has depended on millions of unsung people, but it has also advanced through the vision of exceptional leaders. This Dialogues seminar offers the insights of faculty experts who have analyzed two such leaders in books about Ella Baker (1903-1986) and Barack Obama. We’ll discuss Baker’s model of servant leadership, which President Biden recently evoked by calling her a “giant” of the Civil Rights movement and by using one of her favorite phrases: “Give People Light and They Will Find a Way.” We will also examine Obama’s leadership style and the legacy of a presidency that highlighted the promise of America while also demonstrating the nation’s ongoing struggle with race. Honoring the Juneteenth tradition, our speakers will reflect on how leaders and leadership methods have shaped catalyzing campaigns for racial justice and equality.


Why Ella Baker was “A Giant of the Civil Rights Movement” and Why Her Philosophy Matters Now

Patricia S. Parker, Professor and Chair, Department of Communication

Barack Obama, Presidential Leadership, and the Politics of Race

Claude A. Clegg III, Lyle V. Jones Distinguished Professor, Department of African, African American, & Diaspora Studies and Department of History

How Have African American Leaders and Leadership Philosophies Shaped Social and Political Movements for Equal Rights?

A panel discussion with our speakers


This Dialogues webinar is a virtual event. Tuition is $30, which includes “admission” to the webinar in real time (with live Q&A) as well as access to the recorded talks to watch at your leisure for up to 2 weeks after posting. Registrants will receive instructions for accessing the event online by 4pm on June 18.

**Save money by purchasing a SUMMER PASS to all summer programs (except Great Books) for only $125 ($100 for GAA members).**


Register here or call us at 919.962.1544.

Online registration closes at midnight the night before the event. For same-day registration, please call our office at 919.962.1544.

Co-Sponsored by the General Alumni Association.

For information about GAA discounts and other scholarships available to Humanities Program participants, click here.

Tuition is complimentary for any currently teaching, full time K-12 teachers. If you are eligible, click here to register. Complimentary teacher registration closes at 4:30 pm the Friday before the event.


June 19, 2021
9:00 am - 12:30 pm