About General Gordon Baker, Jr.
One of SID’s most stalwart supporters since its beginning, General Gordon Baker Jr., passed away May 18, 2014 after a lengthy illness. He was an important activist in the labor movement locally, nationally and internationally, as well as in the Detroit community. General worked in Detroit’s automotive factories in the 1960s and knew first-hand of their hazardous working conditions. He was a mentor, brother, and friend to many, especially to the students and faculty of SID. He loved the program and its students. He relished the opportunity to share his many years of struggle in the labor movement and in the community. He taught students history in a way that they could never learn from a book. He was known for his clear intellectual approach to analyzing events, for his extensive knowledge of history and for his big heart. His wisdom provided intergenerational insights into the historic struggle of African Americans, and his life was a lens through which we could view the ongoing changes in Detroit and the nation.
At his death, Eleanor Gamalski, SID alumna and Dolores Slowinski, visual artist and friend of Semester in Detroit, independently of each other suggested that we memorialize General by establishing a SID scholarship in his name. Recently, we reached our goal of $25,000 to activate the General Gordon Baker Jr. Endowment Fund for student scholarships. Over the years we have discovered that financial constraints often hamstring students who wish to participate in the program. While we can begin distributing scholarships immediately, we are still taking donations to take us beyond the endowment minumum in order to provide even more support for students who embody the spirit of General Baker.
Funds donated to the General Gordon Baker Jr. Memorial Endowment Fund will support student scholarships for participation in the U-M Semester in Detroit Program. Awardees will be selected by how well they embody the spirit and principles of our dearly missed friend, General Gordon Baker, Jr.