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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Current social justice interests

When he returned to North Carolina, Baker became involved in community affairs again, though this time through his career. He describes the health initiatives he helps and the ways he sees his work helping his local community.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

What do I do in North Carolina? Oh, god. Right at the moment I am an independent consultant, I work with community based organizations, academic institutions and health agencies, primarily helping to address issues of health and well being particularly helping people understand how to work in communities, how you build relationships and how you partner in communities.
You counsel people on how to network and how to network and build coalitions.
Particularly academic and health agencies that are interested in worked in particular communities of color. I try to help them understand how to work with the communities of colors the academic institutions and those. But, my work has ventured out. I came here, I went back into the community action agency, I, my—she is no longer alive, the person who, when I first came here I worked in the community church as a part of the administrative staff and then this person called me and she said that she had a job that she thought I might be interested in, she called me in to talk to me about it, and she said, "I am looking for somebody who is not intimidated by people with PhDs and I think you would fit this." [Laughter] and so she brought me into a program called the "Community Based Public Health Initiative." It was a Kellogg funded initiative and that lasted for five years. In the course of that time, I built quite a reputation, and credibility for myself as a person understanding the work in communities and how. And so, Kellogg and others have used me as a consultant, sending me to various places across the country. I have had the privilege of being a part of a faculty for the Salzburg Seminar, in Salzburg, Austria.
Oh, wonderful.
Yes, and so I have been really involved in trying to strengthen particular communities of colors for more self reliance. If we look at the civil rights movement and we look at other periods after and we look at all of the programs that were supposed to radically change the quality of life for people who are poor, we created some middle class people who work in the area, and we left a lot of promises, but we really haven't radically shifted the power relationship for poor communities in the dominant society. And so, a lot of my work is about shifting that relationship.