Ella Baker

(1903-1986) African-American civil rights and human rights activist

Ella Josephine Baker (December 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986) was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist. 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.[1] Baker has been ranked as "One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the Civil Rights Movement," known for her critiques not only of racism within American culture, but also the sexism and classism within the Civil Rights Movement.[2][3]



Baker worked with many civil rights organizations. Some of these organizations were the NAACP, Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. [4]

Baker knew that some Black American protesters lost their jobs. Their White American bosses fired them. So she co-founded “In Friendship.” “In Friendship” raised money and collected  clothing to send to people who were fired. Baker was the Executive Secretary.[5]


  1. Pascal Robert, "Ella Baker and the Limits of Charismatic Masculinity", Huffington Post, 21 February 2013
  2. "Books: Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement by Barbara Ransby" Archived 2015-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, University of North Carolina Press website
  3. Ransby, p. 189
  4. Who Was Ella Baker? Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. https://ellabakercenter.org/who-was-ella-baker/ Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  5. "Martin king names 2 to direct vote drive: Selects tilley, miss ella baker". The Chicago Defender. 21 June 1958.