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 giving speech
    Ella Baker giving speech
  • Ella Baker
    Ella Baker

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.

Ella Baker is regarded as one of the most influential women of the civil rights. Her contributions to the cause and to her home state of North Carolina are great. Often forgotten behind the major names of the era, Ella Baker was an important playmaker in helping the young people of the South make a stand against the social injustices. The Ella Baker Center is located in Oakland, California and focuses on empowerment of the youth and strong leadership.

Ella Josephine Baker. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 10:39, Dec 01, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/ella-baker-9195848. Susan Gushee O’Malley. "Baker, Ella Josephine"; http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00989.html; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.