The Ella Effect: An Activist's Journey Towards Mentoring Progressive Black Masculinities Into Motion

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Williams, Derrick Lamonte
Activism; Black Masculinity; Ella Baker; Hip Hop; Mentoring; Violence Prevention
thesis / dissertation description
This study examines my activist journey in developing a grassroots men's antiviolence and multi-generational mentoring group called the Progressive Masculinities Mentors. I draw upon Athena Mutua's intersectional vision of Progressive Black Masculinities into motion which reimagines traditional black masculinity in ways that move beyond negative social scripts in order for black men to reach their full humanity. Modeled on the activist work of Ella Jo Baker, a community organizer, within the civil rights movement, I advocate principles and practices of grassroots community mentoring as a way to bring about social change. "The Ella Effect" refers to the practices, ideas, and life philosophies of Baker which both inspire and inform my activist work of mentoring young college age men and local boys to become progressive men. Hip Hop music and culture is employed as a pedagogical strategy to engage young black males about problematic issues of black masculinity in an effort to create alternative modes that communicate love, compassion, and hope.