In honor of the late General Baker, Jr., The Wright Museum hosts "The Evolution of a Revolutionary" both as tribute his life and legacy, and prelude to the Liberation Film Series 2014 - 2015: Human Rights: Self-Respect, Self-Defense and Self-Determination. This special event features Marian Kramer, John Williams, Ron March, Frank Joyce, Jimmie Settles, Dr. Aneb Kgositsile, Dr. Luke Tripp, and more.
This event is free and open to the public. This third season of the Liberation Film Series (LFS) begins Saturday, September 13, 2014.
General Gordon Baker, Jr. (September 6, 1941 – May 17, 2014) was a national and internationally-known labor leader and human rights activist who has been called the most important 21st century American revolutionary. He was a leader of the Detroit wildcat strikes in the 1960s, a founder of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) and the legendary League of Revolutionary Black Workers and the first American to refuse induction to fight in Vietnam. His case was a landmark in draft resistance, symbolizing the beginning of the anti-war movement. He travelled to Cuba and met Che Guevara and religiously listened to Robert F. Williams' radio show, "Radio Free Dixie," broadcasted from Cuba.
In the book, Detroit: I Do Mind Dying - about the worker revolts of that era - General Baker is cited as the "soul of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM)." DRUM was the driving force behind the wildcat strikes. The ideas emanating from that period inspired Black autoworkers throughout America.
General Baker's life-long commitment to the working class made him one of the country's most knowledgeable spokespersons for a new society where workers will finally receive the fruits of their labor. An autoworker for 30 years, Baker remained a champion of the unemployed and unorganized workers.
His other accomplishments included running in a Michigan state-wide campaign for political office; directing a state-wide campaign to support Detroit's homeless tent city, and being part of the North American delegation to the 7th Pan-African Congress in Uganda. Baker also addressed many other national and international gatherings, including Convener of the 1993 conference in Detroit commemorating Malcolm X and celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. General Baker, Jr. has been the featured speaker at MIT, University of Illinois – Chicago, Cleveland State University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, State University of New York at Binghamton, Carnegie Mellon Institute; and Howard University. He was chair of the Steering Committee of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America: http://rallycomrades.lrna.org/
Recommended Reading and Viewing
Guerrilla Warfare Advocates in the United States, Committee on Un-American Activities, U.S. House of Representatives, 1968.
“Soul Power or Workers Power? The Rise and Fall of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers” (1974)
Bates, Beth Tompkins, The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford. University of North Carolina Press, 2012. http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/10078.html
This third season of the Liberation Film Series (LFS) is focused on Human Rights: Self-Respect, Self-Defense and Self-Determination. Each year this acclaimed, nationally supported and hard-hitting series promotes literacy, independent thought, critical analysis and informed activism. LFS thrives to engage the youth, families, the grassroots community, and scholar-activists in educational films and “community conversations” of contemporary relevance that focus on creating learning opportunities, increased clarity, and new solutions to current and emerging sociopolitical challenges.
On April 12, 1964, just over fifty years ago, Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El Shabazz) stated: “We are fighting for recognition as human beings. We are fighting for the right to live as free humans in this society. In fact, we are actually fighting for rights that are even greater than civil rights and that is human rights.” It is in this spirit that the Liberation Film Series is offered for your full participation and edification. Spread the word.
The Liberation Film Series is supported by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Black/African Studies Departments of Michigan State University, University of Michigan - Dearborn, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, Wayne County Community College District, Oakland University, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, National Council of Black Studies, Dr. Errol Henderson (Pennsylvania State University), Media Education Foundation, The Walter P. Reuther Library – Wayne State University, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Wayne State University Press, Michigan Humanities Council community activists, and individual contributors. Charles Ezra Ferrell, a consultant to The Wright Museum, is the LFS Founder and Program Director.
All films and discussions are free and open to the public, and take place in the Museum's General Motors Theater.
Click here to read Statements of Endorsement given to the Liberation Film Series.
Click here to view a retrospective of the premiere LFS 2012-2013 season.
Click here for information on HIP: The Honoring Ibn Project.
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 East Warren Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48201
The Wright Museum™