Ella Josephine Baker
(December 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986)
Born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia, Ella Baker became involved in political activism in the 1930s. She organized the Young Negroes Cooperative League in New York City, and later became a national director for the NAACP. In 1957, Baker joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She also worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to support civil rights activism on college campuses. She worked alongside some of the most famous civil rights leaders of the 20th century, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, and Martin Luther King, Jr. She also mentored many emerging activists such as Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael,Rosa Parks, and Bob Moses. She has been called “One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement” by the UNC Press. She also lent her voice to the Puerto Rican independence movement, spoke out against apartheid in South Africa and worked along side a number of women’s groups.
“Give light and people will find the way.”
– Ella Baker
Another powerful leader many of us didn’t learn about. Look her up!