BHM Unsung Hero: Ella Baker

Photo credits to Everett Collection/

Samantha Nunez, In Our School / In Our Town Editor

Famous civil rights activists that usually come to our minds are Rosa Parks or John Lewis, but one underappreciated activist during the 1960s was Ella Baker. 

Baker was born in 1903 and grew up in rural North Carolina. She continued to stay in North Carolina until she relocated to New York City after she graduated from Shaw University as class valedictorian in 1927. Being surrounded by poverty and unemployment due to the Great Depression in the 20s, Baker joined the Young Negroes Cooperative League, an organization helping African Americans who suffered from the Depression with financial issues and provided necessary resources. Baker spent most of her life being an important factor of influential organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) throughout the 50s and 60s. These organizations helped spread equality, tried to end racial prejudice, and spoke out about the ongoing violence in the African American community. She often was joined with activists, one being Martin Luther King Jr. In 1960, she created her own organization with the help of college students called the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). It helped spread nonviolence through sit-ins in college towns. 

For over 40 years, Baker has been a part of major events during the civil rights movement that changed history. Even with the amount of time she’s spent helping out, she does deserve more recognition than she already does.