The mission of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is to advance racial and economic justice [and] ensure dignity and opportunity for low-income people and people of color. The Center was established in the late 1990s and named in honor of Ella Baker. Baker was the lead organizer of Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the founding organizer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), two of the most influential civil rights organizations in American history.
Ella Baker was born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in
Littleton, North Carolina. She attended college at Shaw University where she
excelled in her studies and further went on to become valedictorian of her 1927
class. Her work ethic made her perfect for leadership positions and her
education primed her for the role.
After moving to New York, Baker became the national leader
for the Young Negroes Cooperative League. The organization was designed to help
young black people economically. In the 1940s, she joined and became very
present in the NAACP. She travelled all across the South in attempt to spread
awareness and gain support. Baker also was the first national leader of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference in which she was among very influential members
such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Ella Baker also formed the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC). After the Greensboro Sit-Ins and demonstrations,
Baker left North Carolina to return to New York where she would live out the
remainder of life until her death in 1986.