Ella Baker was a Civil Rights Movement era activist who worked with notable organizations such as SNCC, NAACP, and SCLC. She believed the movement was an important force, not just for the freedom of black people, but for all people. Baker said “Even if segregation is gone, we will still need to be free; we will still have to see that everyone has a job. Even if we can all vote, but if people are still hungry, we will not be free…Singing alone is not enough; we need schools and learning…Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all of mankind.”
The first Ella Baker Day Campaign was created in Virginia in response to then Governor Bob McDonnell's declaration of April as Confederate History Month, who stated the “people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence.” The Governor did not initially recognize plantation slavery in his declaration to recognize Confederate History Month. Confederate History Month is annually honored by six states, Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated in seven states and there are additional holidays in honor of Confederate Leaders, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson.
These holidays honor the confederacy and those who defended plantation slavery while at the same time failing to honor the contributions of people of color and specifically women of color. Thus, a day in honor of Ella Baker would not only bring much needed attention to the contributions of women and women of color, but it would also recognize Baker as one of this nation's greatest activists who worked tirelessly to better the living conditions and opportunities for those less fortunate. So to honor that spirit and keep Baker’s legacy alive, we ask you to Support Ella Baker Day!