When she was seven, her family moved to her mother's rural hometown of LittletonNorth Carolina. As a girl, Baker listened to her grandmother tell stories about slave revolts. Baker's maternal grandmother, Josephine Elizabeth "Bet" Ross : She was whipped as a young woman for refusing to marry a man chosen for her by her owner.
Although her gender may have kept her from a more visible role, she remained a steadfast proponent of grass roots empowerment and social change.
Granddaughter of a Slave Baker was born in in Norfolk, Virginia, the second of three children of educated parents.
Her grandmother, a former slave, told stories of her early life, including being whipped for refusing to marry the man chosen by her owner. Baker attended high school at a boarding school in Raleigh, and then studied at Shaw University in North Carolina, where she led protests against what she perceived as unfair regulations.
She majored in sociology, graduated as class valedictorian inand then moved to New York City at the age of Her first job as a waitress gave her Ella baker experience of the dire economic conditions of the time in Harlem.
Baker joined the League the following year, and quickly rose to become its national director, helping to create consumer cooperatives in response to the economic malaise of the Great Depression.
During the s, she also became deeply involved with the political and cultural ferment of Harlem, and befriended many of the rising leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. During this period, Baker married, but in keeping with her evolving ideas of societal control and personal empowerment, she kept her maiden name.
She spent several years traveling widely, and especially throughout the south, helping with local organization, recruiting, and fund-raising, while developing her ideas of grass roots participation and group-centered leadership.
InBaker resigned her position and returned to New York.
There, she became active with the local NAACP branch, focusing on police brutality and school desegregation. She ultimately became the branch president inbut stepped down in favor of an unsuccessful campaign for New York City Council in Martin Luther KingJr.
However, she was not considered for the role of executive director, which went to Reverend John Tilley. Baker came to feel that the SCLC, and to some extent King himself, were too male-oriented and too centralized in their power hierarchy.
But she worked faithfully on behalf of the Conference, with special attention to local issues. When Tilley resigned, Baker stayed on in Atlanta as interim executive director until a permanent replacement was named in Baker also became engaged with a number of other important initiatives during the mids and s.
She served on the staff of the Southern Conference Education Fund from to And inshe participated in the formation and coordination of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party MFDP in response to the all-white pro-segregation composition of the Mississippi Democratic Party.
The MFDP succeeded in forcing a party rule change allowing minorities and women to sit as delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Returning to New York that year, Baker lent her efforts to the campaign to release the imprisoned black radical Angela Davis.
She remained active in support of social rights and justice until her death in New York City inleaving a legacy of commitment to full participatory democracy for all African Americans, all Americans, and all people.We are named after Ella Baker, a brilliant, Black hero of the civil rights movement.
Following in her footsteps, we organize with Black, Brown, and low-income people to shift resources away from prisons and punishment and towards opportunities that make our communities safe, healthy, and strong.
Ella Baker: Ella Baker, American community organizer and political activist who brought her skills and principles to bear in the major civil rights organizations of the midth century. Baker was reared in Littleton, North Carolina.
In she began attending the high school academy of Shaw University in. The Lake Washington School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, gender, marital status, creed, religion, honorably discharged veteran, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, or the use of a .
Ella Josephine Baker worked with the leading civil rights activists of her time, and played a critical part in forming the organizational basis for the movement.
Although her gender may have kept her from a more visible role, she remained a steadfast proponent of grass roots empowerment and social change. The Ella Baker Organizing Fund is committed to the education, training, providing support, and development of a new generation of Black “bottom-up” organizers to work in poor, black communities across the nation.
We are named after Ella Baker, a brilliant, Black hero of the civil rights movement. Following in her footsteps, we organize with Black, Brown, and low-income people to shift resources away from prisons and punishment and towards opportunities that make our communities safe, healthy, and strong.