Brief Biography of Ella Baker
Ella Josephine Baker was born December 13, 1903, in Norfok, Virginia, to Georgianna Ross Baker and Blake Baker. Both sets of her grandparents grew up under slavery. Baker, with the support and encouragement of her family, graduated in April 1927 from Shaw University in North Carolina and was valedictorian. She moved on to become one of this nation's greatest activists and worked tirelessly to better the living conditions and opportunities for those less fortunate. Baker was known for her sincere belief in the potential and dignity of every individual.
Ms. Baker was an educator, an activist, and a leader who worked with numerous organizations and touched the lives of many. Some of the most notable organizations are the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Ms. Baker passed away on December 13, 1986, in New York. She has been recognized by many as the mother of the Civil Rights Movement. (Source: Ransby, Barbara. Ella Baker & The Black Freedom Movement)
For more information, see our Who is Ella Baker page!
Want to host your own Ella Baker Day on your campus or in your community?
Beyond recognizing the many contributions of this amazing individual, the Ella Baker Day campaign aims to draw greater attention to the ongoing value of community organizing and roles that women and people of color have played in the creation of our Commonwealth and this nation. In an effort to further the goals of the Support Ella Baker Day campaign and to further educate people on the legacy of Ella Baker, we ask you to consider hosting your own Ella Baker Day on campus during the month of April. Some options for activities include:
- Host a keynote speaker(s) who can highlight Baker’s accomplishments and/or discuss how we can continue work in her honor
- Host a panel of student leaders to have them discuss what it means to be a student leader and organizer
- Host a signature drive for the Ella Baker Day petition
- Host a social justice workshop where methods for organizing are shared
- Host a book club to discuss one of the biographies on Ella Baker
- Work with a local social justice organization on their efforts
- Screen the documentary of Ella Baker’s life, Fundi
- Screen the documentary, SNCC Legacy Video
- Screen the documentary, Standing On My Sisters’ Shoulders
- Run a voter registration drive
- Collect food and/or clothes for a local shelter
- Participate in a local community service project
Below, you will find a link to a zip folder full of information that will help you to host an Ella Baker Day; the folder includes items such as flyers, opening speeches, and letters to invite speakers. If you decide to hold an Ella Baker Day, we would love to know – we would also be happy to help promote it on our webpage. We welcome your questions and/or comments; you can contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.471.0120
Zip File: Ella Baker Files