Sweet Honey In The Rock (see my earlier post) do an incredibly powerful performance of this amazing piece, Ella’s Song, and I’ve included the video and lyrics for us here. I first fell in love with this song over twenty years ago when I heard it covered by songwriter-singer and activist Holly Near and I adore this original version too. I’ve also included some information about the memorable activist who inspired it: Ella Baker.
Let us be inspired to raise our voices and sing along! Let us rise up and take action for peace and freedom for all the world’s people, for every mother’s child. Let our love light the way. ~Namaste.
Ella Josephine Baker (December 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986) was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist beginning in the 1930s. She was a behind-the-scenes activist, whose career spanned over five decades. She worked alongside some of the most famous civil rights leaders of the 20th century, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, and Martin Luther King, Jr. She also mentored then-young civil rights stalwarts Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael, Rosa Parks and Bob Moses. In 1972 she traveled the country in support of the “Free Angela” campaign demanding the release of Angela Davis [John Lennon & Yoko Ono wrote a song in support of Angela Davis called ‘Angela’ on their 1972 album “Some Time in New York City”]. Ella Baker also lent her voice to the Puerto Rican independence movement, spoke out against apartheid in South Africa and allied herself with a number of women’s groups, including the Third World Women’s Alliance and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She remained an activist until her death in 1986 at 83 years of age.
Ella Baker quotations:
“Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son… we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.”
“Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind.”
“The development of the individual to his highest potential is for the benefit of the group.”