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By Craig Regester, SID Associate Director
Each year on September 6th, the UM Semester in Detroit Program has the great privilege to partner with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the General Baker Institute to honor the life and legacy of General Gordon Baker, Jr. One of the most important Detroit revolutionaries to emerge in the second half of the 20th century, ‘Gen’ remained deeply active in community and labor struggles until his final days in 2014. Thanks to the longtime friendship he had developed with SID faculty emeritus, Lolita Hernandez, ‘Gen’ befriended the Semester in Detroit program, and we all benefited so much as a result!
To honor General Baker’s lasting legacy, SID alumni, friends and staff launched a fundraising campaign to establish a permanent endowed scholarship in his name: The General Gordon Baker, Jr. Memorial Scholarship. After several years of fundraising, in the fall of 2017, we awarded the inaugural scholarship to Jose Gomez, a UM student (now graduated) from SW Detroit. This fall, the Committee was thrilled to award Hannah Freeland, UM junior from Blissfield, Michigan. (More about Hannah Freeland here.) As a part of her receiving this award, Hannah will make a presentation on the life and legacy of General Baker at the SID Student Showcase on December 12, 2018.
Moving forward, thanks to the continued, determined efforts of the General Baker Scholarship Fundraising Committee, now under the leadership of Sandra Stewart (longtime friend and union sister to ‘Gen’), we have our sights set on building the Endowed Fund to $40,000 by the time SID celebrates its 10th Anniversary in the spring of 2019. Once we reach this goal, SID will be able to award nearly $2,000 annually, and will continue to spread the legacy of General Gordon Baker Jr. to future generations, honoring one of the wisest and most generous friends SID has ever known!