Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  63 minutes
Date:  1981
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 9-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker

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Friend and advisor to Martin Luther King, FUNDI reveals the instrumental role that Ella Baker played in shaping the American civil rights movement.

Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker

FUNDI: THE STORY OF ELLA BAKER reveals the instrumental role that Ella Baker, a friend and advisor to Martin Luther King, played in shaping the American civil rights movement. The dynamic activist was affectionately known as the Fundi, a Swahili word for a person who passes skills from one generation to another.

By looking at the 1960s from the perspective of Baker, the 'godmother of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee,' FUNDI adds an essential understanding of the U.S. civil rights movement.

Also available in a 48 minute version

'FUNDI, the powerful film account of Ella Baker's contributions, can enrich us immeasurably, adding depth and texture to our understanding of an important part of our past, inspiring us with examples of lives lived fully and purposefully.' - Harvard Educational Review

'FUNDI fills a gap for those who know little of the history of the black struggle [and] is a compelling portrait of an extraordinary woman who has devoted her life to struggle and to the people who take part in it.' - Harry Belafonte

'FUNDI does exactly what Ella Baker does: it gives us the courage to act on our own - and to affect the future.' - Gloria Steinem

'FUNDI restores Ella Baker, the 'godmother of the SNCC,' to her place in the history of the civil rights movement. Rrecisely and elegantly executed... there's no pomposity, no false reverence - at least none that Baker herself can't cut right through.' - Pat Aufderheide, for In These Times


** 2005 National Women's Studies Association Film Festival
** Film of the Year, 1981 London Film Festival
** Best of Category, 1981 San Francisco Film Festival
** First Prize Winner, Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame (1981)
** 1981 CINE Golden Eagle Winner


Main credits

Baker, Ella (interviewee)
Abernathy, Ralph (interviewee)
Walker, Wyatt Tee (interviewee)
Current, Gloster B (interviewee)
Belafonte, Harry (on-screen presenter)
Grant, Joanne (film producer)
Grant, Joanne (film director)
Grant, Joanne (screenwriter)

Other credits

Cinematographer, Judy Irola; editor, Hortense Beveridge; musical direction and production, Bernice Johnson Reagon.

Distributor credits

A Film by Joanne Grant

Docuseek2 subjects

African-American Studies
American Studies
Civil Rights
Women's Studies
Black History
American (U.S.) Studies

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Civil Rights
Women's Studies


Joanne Grant; Joanne Grant; Ella; Baker; Video; Film; Documentary; Civil Rights; Martin Luther King; African-American; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; SNCC; "Fundi"; Icarus Films

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