This Day in Black History: Dec. 13, 1903

Social justice activist Ella Baker was born.

Posted: 12/11/2012 04:22 PM EST
This Day in Black History: Ella Baker

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) workers Jmarch from Selma to Montgomery. Ella Baker was instrumental in founding SNCC   (Photo: Jack Hopper/ Birmingham News/LANDOV)

When it came to the civil rights movement, Ella Baker was a force to be reckoned with. Not only did she rally young Black activists through her Young Negroes Cooperative League, but she also lended a hand to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr. She was also instrumental in founding the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Baker first entered the social activism scene when she helped create the Young Negroes Cooperative League to give members better deals on goods and services. Then she became a field secretary for the NAACP. Six years later, she became its national director.

When King requested that Baker join his Southern Christian Leadership Conference, she accepted and went on to counsel young student activists through the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1964, the organization formed the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party as a counter choice to the state's Democratic Party and its segregationist ideas.

She spent her life fighting for equality, guiding young activists and lending her support to other causes like the Third World Women's Coordinating Committee and the Puerto Rican Solidarity Committee.

Baker died on Dec. 13, 1986, on her 83rd birthday.

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