One hundred and seven years ago today, Ella Baker was born. One of the most famous (but still lesser-known) Civil Rights Era activists, Baker grew up in North Carolina and went to Shaw University in Raleigh too. She trained Rosa Parks, Bob Moses, Stokely Carmichael, and many other young prominent activists.
Ella Baker believed in participatory democracy, direct action, and radical social change. She is known for stating that “strong people don’t need strong leaders” and speaking out against hierarchy within the movement in general.
It’s hard to list everything she was involved with or influenced, ranging from SNCC and SDS to more current movements that draw strength from her example. She passed away in 1986, but here’s to her memory and legacy!