Barbara Ransby is an historian, writer and activist. She is Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and serves as Director of UIC’s Social Justice Initiative. Barbara is author of the highly acclaimed biography Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (2003), which has won national-level accolades and recognition from several organizations including the American Historical Association, Association of Black Women Historians, Organization of American Historians, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, Black Caucus of the American Library Association and Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America. Barbara’s most recent book is Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson (2013).
Barbara co-initiated the African American Women in Defense of Ourselves campaign in 1991, co-convened The Black Radical Congress in 1998, and co-founded Ella’s Daughters, a network of women working in Ella Baker’s tradition. Her writing has appeared in The Miami Herald, The Detroit Free Press, In These Times and The Progressive. She is Editor-in-Chief of SOULS: a Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society.