Ella Baker

Aug 25, 2021

As an African American civil rights and human rights activist, Ella Baker is one of the most influential figures in history within diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her career lasted over five decades, and she primarily worked as a behind-the-scenes organizer throughout New York City and the South. Today we’re going to take a deeper look into Ella Baker’s history and discover the lasting impact she left on the world.

Who was Ella Baker?

Ella Josephine Baker was best known as an African American human rights activist who spent over 50 years working behind the scenes on campaigns in New York City and the South. She held key roles in some of the most influential organizations of her time, which included Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She strived to unlock the power within every person she worked with and aimed to strengthen the communities within the areas she worked in.

Ella Baker was born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia, and her passion for social justice began early in life due to her grandmother’s influence. Her grandmother had been kept as a slave during her life and whipped for refusing to marry a man picked out for her. Her grandmother’s resilience continued to inspire Ella Baker throughout her life and motivated her fight for justice. Baker was educated at Shaw University in North Carolina and was known for challenging the school’s policies during her education. She then moved to New York City and began her work with social activist organizations.

What Did She Achieve During Her Life?

Ella Baker worked with many different organizations during her life. Starting in 1940, she began working with the NAACP as a field secretary and then acts as director of branches for three years starting from 1943. A decade later, she would go on to found In Friendship, an organization that raised money to fight against the Jim Crow Laws within the deep South. Following this, Baker moved to Atlanta, where she worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was Martin Luther King’s new organization.

Following incidents within education, Baker helped to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960, and they worked to organize the Freedom Rides in 1961 with activists from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). A few years later, in 1964, SNCC created Freedom Summer, which strived to bring national attention to the racism taking place in Mississippi. Ella Baker was passionate about voting and believed it held the key to unlocking our freedom in society. SNCC became one of the biggest advocates for human rights in the US thanks to her guidance, and her dream is still alive today thanks to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Celebrating Ella Baker’s Legacy

Ella Baker is often considered to be an unsung hero when it comes to economic justice and racial justice, and she was an inspirational leader within these fields, aiming to change the accepted culture in the world around her. She strived to inspired people to imagine different possibilities for their life and encouraged communities to rethink their practices and DE&I. Her legacy paved the way for organizations such as Black Lives Matter, which also promote a leaderful style of organization. As well as making huge changes to the world during her life, she also inspired others to change the way they think about trying to make changes in the world around them. By defying traditional gender roles and empowering other people to take control of their freedom, she has encouraged future leaders to consider a different leadership model.

A Different Leadership Model

One of the biggest impacts that Ella Baker left on the world in regards to inclusion and leadership is a unique leadership model for making change. Unlike the typical leadership models, which required a charismatic leader to pave the way, she believed that encouraging everyone to be involved in leading a movement collectively is more likely to result in action and change. In all of the campaigns and organizations she was involved in, she drew on this style of leadership and encouraged students and adults alike to be involved in the decision-making process.

On top of this, Ella Baker emphasized women’s contributions within civil rights organizations. She was known for her outspoken nature, even when it was believed that women should just be quiet or hidden at home. During her time working with the NAACP and SCLC, she complained about men always holding the top-ranking positions, whereas women were usually found hidden behind the scenes working in supporting roles. Her intelligent way of organizing campaigns and working has inspired many young women to enter leadership roles. As gender equality continues still to be an issue within leadership in many top organizations, her story shows young women that anything is possible regardless of their race, age, or gender.

The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

While we all celebrate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the federal holiday, we encourage you also to remember the mother of the civil rights movement, Ella Baker. The two figures were known for having a tense relationship, as he struggled to appreciate her organizational abilities and leadership ideas. As someone who was never interested in the spotlight as far as leadership, she still succeeded in making a huge change with her work in regards to inclusion. Without her, the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wouldn’t have made its impact on the country in the way it did still until this day.

Ella Baker is one of the most influential figures within diversity awareness, inclusion, and equity. If you aren’t familiar with her story, we highly encourage you to read up on her work, as she is one of the most inspirational examples of strong leadership within our country’s past. Elements of her story can inspire any workplace culture to listen to employees and inspire future leaders, which is something that any business should be drawing upon and thinking about during this current time.

As an African American civil rights and human rights activist, Ella Baker is one of the most influential figures in history within diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her career lasted over five decades, and she primarily worked as a behind-the-scenes organizer throughout New York City and the South. Today we’re going to take a deeper look into Ella Baker’s history and discover the lasting impact she left on the world.

Who was Ella Baker?

Ella Josephine Baker was best known as an African American human rights activist who spent over 50 years working behind the scenes on campaigns in New York City and the South. She held key roles in some of the most influential organizations of her time, which included Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She strived to unlock the power within every person she worked with and aimed to strengthen the communities within the areas she worked in.

Ella Baker was born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia, and her passion for social justice began early in life due to her grandmother’s influence. Her grandmother had been kept as a slave during her life and whipped for refusing to marry a man picked out for her. Her grandmother’s resilience continued to inspire Ella Baker throughout her life and motivated her fight for justice. Baker was educated at Shaw University in North Carolina and was known for challenging the school’s policies during her education. She then moved to New York City and began her work with social activist organizations.

What Did She Achieve During Her Life?

Ella Baker worked with many different organizations during her life. Starting in 1940, she began working with the NAACP as a field secretary and then acts as director of branches for three years starting from 1943. A decade later, she would go on to found In Friendship, an organization that raised money to fight against the Jim Crow Laws within the deep South. Following this, Baker moved to Atlanta, where she worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was Martin Luther King’s new organization.

Following incidents within education, Baker helped to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960, and they worked to organize the Freedom Rides in 1961 with activists from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). A few years later, in 1964, SNCC created Freedom Summer, which strived to bring national attention to the racism taking place in Mississippi. Ella Baker was passionate about voting and believed it held the key to unlocking our freedom in society. SNCC became one of the biggest advocates for human rights in the US thanks to her guidance, and her dream is still alive today thanks to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Celebrating Ella Baker’s Legacy

Ella Baker is often considered to be an unsung hero when it comes to economic justice and racial justice, and she was an inspirational leader within these fields, aiming to change the accepted culture in the world around her. She strived to inspired people to imagine different possibilities for their life and encouraged communities to rethink their practices and DE&I. Her legacy paved the way for organizations such as Black Lives Matter, which also promote a leaderful style of organization. As well as making huge changes to the world during her life, she also inspired others to change the way they think about trying to make changes in the world around them. By defying traditional gender roles and empowering other people to take control of their freedom, she has encouraged future leaders to consider a different leadership model.

A Different Leadership Model

One of the biggest impacts that Ella Baker left on the world in regards to inclusion and leadership is a unique leadership model for making change. Unlike the typical leadership models, which required a charismatic leader to pave the way, she believed that encouraging everyone to be involved in leading a movement collectively is more likely to result in action and change. In all of the campaigns and organizations she was involved in, she drew on this style of leadership and encouraged students and adults alike to be involved in the decision-making process.

On top of this, Ella Baker emphasized women’s contributions within civil rights organizations. She was known for her outspoken nature, even when it was believed that women should just be quiet or hidden at home. During her time working with the NAACP and SCLC, she complained about men always holding the top-ranking positions, whereas women were usually found hidden behind the scenes working in supporting roles. Her intelligent way of organizing campaigns and working has inspired many young women to enter leadership roles. As gender equality continues still to be an issue within leadership in many top organizations, her story shows young women that anything is possible regardless of their race, age, or gender.

The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

While we all celebrate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the federal holiday, we encourage you also to remember the mother of the civil rights movement, Ella Baker. The two figures were known for having a tense relationship, as he struggled to appreciate her organizational abilities and leadership ideas. As someone who was never interested in the spotlight as far as leadership, she still succeeded in making a huge change with her work in regards to inclusion. Without her, the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wouldn’t have made its impact on the country in the way it did still until this day.

Ella Baker is one of the most influential figures within diversity awareness, inclusion, and equity. If you aren’t familiar with her story, we highly encourage you to read up on her work, as she is one of the most inspirational examples of strong leadership within our country’s past. Elements of her story can inspire any workplace culture to listen to employees and inspire future leaders, which is something that any business should be drawing upon and thinking about during this current time.

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