Barbara Ransby

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Barbara Ransby


Barbara Ransby is an associate professor of History and African American Studies at University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a writer, historian and longtime activist and author of a biography of Ella J. Baker. She has worked with the Black Radical Congress, Progressive Media Project, Crossroads Fund, Public Square, African American Women in Defense of Ourselves and other activist organizations[1].

She is closely associated with Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Background

She received her B.A. from the Columbia University and her M.A. and Ph.D in History from the University of Michigan. Barbara Ransby is currently a Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Woman’s Studies (director, 2008-2013), and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she directs the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative. She previously served as Interim Vice Provost for Planning and Programs (2011-2012).

Her highly acclaimed biography, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision received eight national awards and recognitions. Professor Ransby is also winner of the prestigious Catherine Prelinger Prize for her contributions for her contributions to women’s history. Her most recent book is Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional life of Mrs. Paul Robeson (Yale University Press, 2013). Ransby has also published in numerous scholarly and popular publications and lectures widely. She serves on the editorial boards of the Black Commentator, (an online journal); the London based journal, Race and Class; the Justice, Power and Politics Book Series at the University of North Carolina Press; and the Scholar’s Advisory Commitee of Ms. Magazine, as well as the National Advisory Board of “Imagining America”. In the summer of 2012 she became the second Editor in Chief of SOULS, a critical journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society published quarterly since 1999. In addition to her scholarship, Professor Ransby is a public historian who works with many community based and activist organizations.[2]

Education

Barbara Ransby attended Columbia University in New York from 1980 to 1984.

Ella Baker-Nelson Mandela Center

Barbara Ransby was a co-founder of the Ella Baker-Nelson Mandela Center, Ann Arbor[3].

Spoke at Socialism 2016 Conference

Some of our Speakers at Socialism 2016 included:

[4]

Malcolm X conference

A conference, Malcolm X: Radical Tradition and a Legacy of Struggle was held in New York City, November 14 1990.

The "Black Women and Black Liberation: Fighting Oppression and Building Unity" panel consisted of;

Chairperson:

Panel:

African-American Women in Defense of Ourselves

Rhonda Williams, Department of African-American Studies, and Economics, University of Maryland contributed an article to Freedom Road Socialist Organization's Forward Motion, March 1992 issue, in which she stated that Barbara Ransby, Elsa Barkley-Brown and Deborah King, had esblished the African-American Women in Defense of Ourselves.

Committees of Correspondence connection

In 1994 Barbara Ransby, Oak Park, was listed on a "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence, an offshoot of the Communist Party USA[5]

Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa

The 1994 Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa board of directors consisted of Lisa Brock, Kay Burnett, Basil Clunie, Selena Derey, Michael Freedberg, Joan Gerig, Cheryl Harris, Prexy Nesbitt, Barbara Ransby, Rachel Rubin, Zeva Schub. [6]

"African Americans and the 1996 Elections."

In conjunction with the Chicago Chapter of the Committees of Correspondence, the University of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America hosted a panel discussion on "African Americans and the 1996 Elections." Panelists included Danny Davis, Cook County Commissioner and Democratic Party nominee for Illinois' 7th Congressional District, Barbara Ransby, Chair of the Center for African American Research at DePaul University, and Salim Muwakkil, columnist (for In These Times and the Chicago Sun-Times. Long-time political activist Timuel Black moderated.[7]

Black Radical Congress

In 1996, five veteran activists and scholars - Abdul Alkalimat, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Manning Marable, Leith Mullings, and Barbara Ransby - initiated a round of discussions among themselves regarding the political and social state of affairs facing African Americans and other oppressed communities in the United States. Though the five brought different experiences and political frameworks to these talks, they all located themselves within the broad school of black radicalism. Those discussions would soon port to a larger pool of activists who agreed that not only did a crisis exist, but black radicals also had a responsibility to do something about it[8].

In March 1998 “Endorsers of the Call” to found a Black Radical Congress included Barbara Ransby, Chicago[9].

In 2000 Barbara Ransby served on the Coordinating Committee of the Black Radical Congress.[10]

Speaking with Ayers and Obama

Bill Ayers and Barack Obama spoke together at a public gathering sponsored by The Center for Public Intellectuals & the University of Illinois-Chicago, April 19th-20th, 2002, at the Chicago Illini Union;

"Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?

IV. Intellectuals in Times of Crisis

Experiences and applications of intellectual work in urgent situations.

  • Bill Ayers, UIC, College of Education; author of Fugitive Days
  • Douglass Cassel, Northwestern University, Center for International Human Rights
  • Barbara Ransby, UIC, African-American Studies (moderator)[11].

"Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement"

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In 2004 Barbara Ransby released a biography of radical black civil rights activist Ella J. Baker-"Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision"

Bernardine Dohrn wrote a favorable review for the socialist journal Monthly Review[12].

Chicago Area Friends of SNCC

In 2005 Chicago Area Friends of SNCC organized the "Tell the Story: The Chicago SNCC History Project, 1960-1965" Chicago Area Friends of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Chicago Civil Rights Movement, c. 1960-1965. The event was held October 21-22, 2005 Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois.

Members of the advisory committee included Barbara Ransby.[13]

Crossroads Fund

In 2005, the board of the leftist, Chicago based Crossroads Fund consisted of[14];

MDS Board member

On February 17, 2007, the Movement for a Democratic Society held a well attended conference[15]at New York City’s New School University.

The business portion of the meeting followed with each board nominee introducing themselves to the conference. The board, a very diverse group, was voted in by acclamation... Board nominees where were not able to attend the conference were included in the appointment by acclamation. The list included Elliott Adams, Panama Vicente Alba, Tariq Ali, Stanley Aronowitz, David Barsamian, Rosalyn Baxandall, John Bracey, Jr., John Brittain, Robb Burlage, Noam Chomsky, Jayne Cortez, Carl Davidson, Angela Davis, Bernardine Dohrn, Barbara Epstein, Gustavo Esteva, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Stephen Fleischman, Bill Fletcher Jr, Tom Hayden, Gerald Horne, Florence Howe, Mike James, Robin D G Kelley, Alice Kessler Harris, Rashid Khalidi, Mike Klonsky, Betita Martinez, Ethelbert Miller, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Barbara Ransby, Patricia Rose, Michael Rossman, Studs Terkel, Charlene Teters, Jerry Tucker, Immanuel Wallerstein, Cornel West, Leonard Weinglass and Howard Zinn.

Open Letter to Obama on Iran

In 2008 Barbara Ransby of Chicago, IL signed an online petition “A Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran”.[16]

Race & Class

In 2009, the Editorial Working Committee of Race & Class, published on behalf of the UK based Institute of Race Relations, included John Berger, Lee Bridges, Victoria Brittain, Jan Carew, Jeremy Corbyn, Basil Davidson, Avery Gordon, Barbara Harlow, Saul Landau, Neil Lazarus, Manning Marable, Nancy Murray, Colin Prescod, Barbara Ransby, Cedric Robinson, Bill Rolston and Chris Searle[17].

Ella's Daughters

In 2009 Barbara Ransby was a member of Chicago based organization Ella's Daughters-A network of artists, scholars and writers working in the tradition of militant Civil rights activist Ella Baker[18].

We are a loose network of women who respect and admire Baker’s legacy, and are either interested in or already engaged in work that represents a continuation of her democratic, egalitarian humanistic tradition. We do not want to reinvent the wheel or duplicate or compete in any way with existing efforts. An argument can be made that the potential for a renewed progressive movement already exists and is embedded in the local trench work of organizers like Ella Baker.

Prominent members include Bernardine Dohrn, Tracye Matthews and Camille Odeh.

Black Commentator

As of 2009 Barbara Ransby was listed on the Editorial Board for the Black Commentator.[19]

Communist front MC

On April 18 2009 the Chicago branch of National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, a front first for the Communist Party USA, latterly for the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, awarded several local activists its highest honour.

According to a report from the Communist Party USA's People's Weekly World[20].

Human Rights awards were granted to honorees at the event whose work includes ending the death penalty, overturning wrongful convictions, the fight against racism and efforts to help victims of the prison industrial complex.

The honorees included;

Patricia Hill, executive director of the African American Police League; Jane Raley, senior staff attorney with the Northwestern Law School; Judith Stuart, an anti-prison activist, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, retired Pastor with the Trinity United Church of Christ; and Karen Yarbrough, Illinois state representative.

Dr. Barbara Ransby, a professor in the African American Studies Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, emceed the award ceremony.

Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward

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Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.

Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?

This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.

Those invited, on Facebook included Barbara Ransby.[21]

Women's March

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In The Guardian Monday 6 February 2017, Linda Martín Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser, Barbara Ransby, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, Angela Davis wrote;

Women of America: we're going on strike. Join us so Trump will see our power... The ‘lean-in’ variety of feminism won’t defeat this administration, but a mobilization of the 99% will. On 8 March we will take to the streets.
The massive women’s marches of 21 January may mark the beginning of a new wave of militant feminist struggle. But what exactly will be its focus? In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights....
Let us join together on 8 March to strike, walk out, march and demonstrate. Let us use the occasion of this international day of action to be done with lean-in feminism and to build in its place a feminism for the 99%, a grassroots, anti-capitalist feminism – a feminism in solidarity with working women, their families and their allies throughout the world.

References