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Joanne Grant, 74; Chronicled the Early Civil Rights Movement

January 16, 2005|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Joanne Grant, 74, who documented the grass-roots civil rights movement in print and film, died Jan. 8 in a Manhattan hospital of heart failure.

Her 1968 book, "Black Protest," was among the first to detail the origins of the civil rights movement. The book remains required reading in many African American history classes. Grant's 1969 book, "Confrontation on Campus," described sit-ins and other protests at Columbia University and elsewhere.

Seeking to explain the struggle through its leaders, she made an award-winning film and wrote a biography of a little-known civil rights matriarch named Ella Baker. The film "Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker" was broadcast on PBS in 1981, and the book "Ella Baker: Freedom Bound" was published in 1998.

Born Joanne Grant Rabinowitz in Utica, N.Y., she earned a degree in history and journalism from Syracuse University. Considering herself both journalist and advocate, she wrote in the 1960s for the National Guardian and was active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

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