Ella Baker:
So I was sent there by this method. The three of us were to meet and Bayard and Stanley had gone out to the airport to talk with Martin as he passed through New York going where, I don't know. They came back and told me that I had been drafted to go to Atlanta to set up the program for the Crusade for Citizenship for these twenty-odd meetings. Prior to that it had been assumed that Bayard would go down, but he was not available, let's say. I was very provoked because I had never in my life.

Eugene Walker:
... given your consent not as a contributor.

Ella Baker:
No, I had not planned to go. To be drafted in the sense of having it be said that I would go when I hadn't been consulted... my ego isn't very pronounced. But I suppose in that aspect of it, my ego is easily touched; not to ask me what to do but to designate me to do something without even consulting me, but I went.

Eugene Walker:
Well, let me ask you this. This is the first major civil rights undertaking in the history of this country whereby a woman has been granted a seemingly, ostensibly significant policy-making kind of position. Now, were you taken by that? Was that gratifying to you?

Ella Baker:
Oh no, no, no, no. Because I knew I didn't have any significant role in the minds of those who constituted the organization. I'm sure that basically the assumption is, or was, and perhaps the assumption still prevails in the minds of those who remember my being there, that I was just there to carry out the orders of Dr. King and somebody else, but incidental since there was no designation of authority. I wasn't a person of authority.

- Ella Baker, civil rights activist

Interview with Ella Baker by Eugene Walker, September 4, 1974, Interview G-0007, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection #4007, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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