In the 1960s, grassroots organizer Goldie Baker raised her children in Lafayette Courts, an inner-city public housing complex in downtown east Baltimore. Her neighborhood, and the city, not only buzzed with the activity of civil rights organizations and Great Society programs but also Black Power groups. A tenant, welfare, and education rights activist, Baker believed in black self-determination, political power, economic security, respect, and human dignity. However, unlike some black women, Baker did not join nationally recognized Black Power organizations. Instead, Baker and numerous other black

women, many of them low-income, engaged in battles around home-, family-, and neighborhood-based issues either as individuals or as members of local community organizations. Their lives and grassroots struggles, then, not only provide plentiful evidence of social welfare protests in extraordinarily rich activist decades, but also possess the narrative power to enrich and complicate the history of the Black Power era by elucidating how black women outside of traditional organizations interacted with and engendered Black Power politics in the 1960s.3