Growing up in California, Tallchief experienced severe teasing because of her Native American heritage. Classmates would make “war whoops” whenever they saw her and ask if her father took scalps. And during their early recitals, Maria and Marjorie were made to perform a “traditional Native American dance,” although “it wasn’t remotely authentic” since “traditionally women didn’t dance in Indian tribal ceremonies.”
The Civil Rights Movement is often remembered in regards to King and Parks. Hardly anyone mentions Ella Baker, but she had accepted her anonymity: “I found a greater sense of importance by being a part of those who were growing,” Baker told filmmaker Joanne Grant in her 1981 documentary Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker. “Fundi” is a Swahili word, and Baker’s nickname, meaning someone who passes on her wisdom on to other generations.
“My daddy (Detroit’s Rev. C.L. Franklin) says I don’t know what I’m doing. Well, I respect him, of course, but I’m going to stick to my beliefs. Angela Davis must go free. Black people will be free. I’ve been locked up (for disturbing the peace in Detroit) and I know you got to disturb the peace when you can’t get no peace. Jail is hell to be in. I’m going to see her free if there is any justice in our courts, not because I believe in communism, but because she’s a Black woman and she wants freedom for Black people."