2015 Session 15: Leadership

Anne Braden Anti-Racist Training Program
2015 Session 15: Leadership Development

Required Readings

  1. Sista II Sista, “Sistas Makin’ Moves: Collective Leadership for Personal Transformation and Social Justice” from INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence, eds., The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-profit Industrial Complex. (6 page PDF: Sista_II_Sista Sistas_Makin_Moves). (bio).
  2. Chris Crass, “‘But We Don’t Have Leaders’: Leadership Development and Anti-Authoritarian Organizing”,  from  Chris Crass ed., Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy. (7 page PDF: Crass But_We_Dont_Have_Leaders). (bio).
  3. Ella Baker on Leadership in the Movement from POWER. (1 page PDF: Baker On_Leadership_in_the_Movement). (bio).
  4. Hilary Moore & Joshua Kahn Russell, “Taking Direction, Accountability” from Organizing Cools the Planet (7 page PDF: Moore_Russell excerpt_Organizing_Cools_the_Planet; also at climateaccess.org).
  5. Catalyst Project, “The 5 Gs: Tips for Leadership Development One on Ones”. (1 page PDF: Catalyst One_on_One_5Gs).

Recommended Readings

  1. DataCenter, “Power Analysis: Types and Sources of Power and Leadership Styles”. (7 page PDF: DataCenter Power_Analysis). (bio).
  2. Myles Horton, “Ideas that Have Withstood the Test of Time: an interview with Myles Horton” from Dale Jacobs, ed., The Myles Horton Reader: Education for Social Change. (16 page PDF*: Horton Ideas_That_Have_Withstood_the_Test_of_Time). (bio).
  3. SOUL (School of Unity and Liberation), “Organization Culture” from their Support and Accountability: SOUL’s Organizational Development and Supervision Model. (6 page PDF: SOUL Organizational_Culture). (bio).
  4. Berit Lakey, George Lakey, Rod Napier, and Janice Robinson, “Recognizing and Sharing Leadership” from Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership: A Guide for Organizations in Changing Times. (7 page PDF: Lakey Recognizing_and_Sharing_Leadership). (Berit Lakey bio; George Lakey bio; Napier bio).
  5. Berit Lakey, George Lakey, Rod Napier, and Janice Robinson, “Paddling at our Best: Supervising Staff and Volunteers” from their Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership: A Guide for Organizations in Changing Times. (18 page PDF: Lakey Paddling Our Best.pdf). (Berit Lakey bio; George Lakey bio; Napier bio).
  6. People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), “Principles of Leadership Development” from SOUL’s Youth Organizing Manual. (4 page PDF: POWER Principles_of_Leadership_Development). (bio).

Readings are provided free for use by participants studying in the Anne Braden Training Program for Anti-Racist Organizers, a noncommercial, nonprofit educational program. We encourage everyone to buy the works from which excerpts have been taken – please support these authors and publishers.

Author Biographies

Ella Baker (1903–1986). As a girl growing up in North Carolina, Ella Jo Baker listened to her grandmother tell stories about slave revolts. As a slave, her grandmother had been whipped for refusing to marry a man chosen for her by the slave owner. After graduating from Shaw University in North Carolina, she moved to New York City and began joining social activist organizations, including the Young Negroes Cooperative League and several women’s organizations. She began her involvement with the NAACP in 1940 as a field secretary, then director of branches. In 1957, Baker moved to Atlanta to help organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and run a voter registration campaign. Baker left the SCLC after the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins in order to assist the new student activists. Miss Baker organized a meeting for the student leaders of the sit-ins in April 1960. From that meeting, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee — SNCC — was born.

Chris Crass is a longtime organizer working to build powerful working class-based, feminist, multiracial movements for collective liberation.  He participated in anti-war organizing during the Gulf War in 1991 and was heavily involved in struggles for Ethnic Studies and immigrant rights In Orange County, CA.  Throughout the 1990s, he was an organizer with Food Not Bombs, an economic justice anti-poverty group, strengthening the direct action-based anti-capitalist Left.  He was a co-coordinator of the Challenging White Supremacy Workshops from which the Catalyst Project emerged. He was a member of the anti-racist/anti-imperialist Heads Up Collective in the Bay Area that bridged organizing for economic and racial justice with global justice and anti-war organizing.  He was a co-founder of Colours of Resistance with Helen Luu and Pauline Hwang.  His essays on collective liberation politics, anti-authoritarian leadership, organizing strategy and movement building have been published in Left Turn, Clamor and on ZNet and Infoshop.org. He graduated from San Francisco State University in Race, Class, Gender and Power Studies and currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his partner and their son, River. He is a member of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

DataCenter is a 32-year-old national social justice institution that empowers grassroots groups advocating for positive change with strategic research support and research capacity building.  As they explain, “we deliver the power and tools of information and knowledge into the hands of people working to make a more equitable and sustainable world.  We support grassroots groups to bridge the gap between ideas for solutions and the actual power to engage in the policymaking and civic processes & decision making that affects their lives in order to make social change.”

Myles Horton was an American educator, socialist and cofounder of the Highlander Folk School, famous for its role in the Civil Rights Movement. Horton, whom movement strategist James Bevel called the “Father of the Civil Rights Movement”, taught and heavily influenced most of the era’s leaders.  Besides Rev. Bevel, they included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Bernard Lafeyette, Ralph Abernathy, John B. Thompson, and many others.
A poor white from Savannah in West Tennessee, Horton’s social and political views were strongly influenced by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, under whom he studied at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  Along with educator Don West and Methodist minister James A. Dombrowski of New Orleans, Horton founded the Highlander Folk School (now Highlander Research and Education Center) in his native Tennessee in 1932. He remained its director until 1973. In the 1930s and 40s Highlander trained rank and file labor organizers in the CIO and created one of the only desegregated spaces in the Jim Crow South.  Myles worked closely with Anne and Carl Braden and Ella Baker.

Berit Lakey is senior consultant for BoardSource. Berit provides individualized board consulting and training, conducts workshops for board members and board consultants, and is responsible for the BoardSource board self-assessment program.  Berit’s career has connected her with health and human services organizations as well as with foundations and associations, both on the local and the national level. The author of several publications on governance, Berit holds  a doctorate in human and organizational systems from the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, California.

George Lakey, the founder and executive director of Training for Change, has been a leader in the field of nonviolent social change since the 1960s and has published extensively for both activist and academic readers.  He has worked in the United States with mineworkers, steelworkers, and civil rights leaders, and, internationally, with South African anti-apartheid activists, Cambodian human rights organizers, and many others. His books include A Manual for Direct Action, Powerful Peacemaking: A Strategy for a Living Revolution, and Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership: A Guide for Organizations in Changing Times.  He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, Temple University, and Swarthmore.

Rod Napier is president of The Napier Group, a management consulting firm. He is a former professor of management and organizational development at Temple University Graduate School. Dr. Napier is co-author of Groups: Theory and Experience.

People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) was founded by a group of welfare recipients in 1997 so that low-income people could have a space to impact the policies that affect their lives. Since that time, POWER has helped thousands of low-income people find their own voice and find ways to end poverty. Now approaching its 10th year, POWER continues to build the power of low-income people in San Francisco to improve the conditions in their communities and in their workplaces. The backbone of POWER’s work are our two organizing projects: the Bayview Organizing Project, which unites low-income residents of San Francisco’s last-remaining African American neighborhood in a fight for affordable housing, living wage employment and environmental justice in the face of corporate developers’ attempts to gentrify the community; and the Women Workers’ Project which organizes domestic workers who are mostly immigrant and women of color to win justice in an industry that thrives on our exploitation.

Sista II Sista is a Brooklyn-wide community-based organization located in Bushwick.  They are a collective of working-class young and adult Black and Latina women building together to model a society based on liberation and love.  Their organization is dedicated to working with young women to develop personal, spiritual, and collective power.  We are committed to fighting for justice and creating alternatives to the systems we live in by making social, cultural and political change.

SOUL (School of Unity and Liberation) is working to lay the groundwork for a powerful liberation movement by supporting the development of a new generation of young organizers – especially young women, young people of color, queer youth and working-class young people. They believe that – in order for young organizers to build an effective movement for fundamental social change – they need support to develop the nuts-and-bolts organizing skills they need to mobilize their communities and to deepen their political analysis and their visions for fundamental social change.  SOUL is a training center designed to support the growing youth sector of the social justice movement. They run political education and organizing skills training programs, designed specifically to meet the particular needs of their generation of emerging movement leaders.

* Note: number of pages refers to pages within the PDF file to provide a sense of the download size, not the number of pages of readings included. Links to external web sites open in a new page.

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Program for white social justice activists