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Ella Baker

(December 13, 1903- December 13, 1986)
Ella Baker was primarily a ‘behind-the-scenes’ activist who worked with several civil rights leaders such as W.E.B Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr. and A. Philip Randolph. Aside from Baker’s development of the ‘Participatory Democracy’ idea in the 1960s, she also worked within many prominent organizations such as the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Conference Education Fund.

“In order for us as poor and oppressed people to become part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed… It means facing a system that does not lend its self to your needs and devising means by which you change that system.” – Ella Baker

Although not always in the spotlight, Ella Baker’s influence with organizations like the NAACP, the SCLC, the SNCC encourage growth and prosperity to the idea of equality in America. Her intelligence, free thinking and ability to ‘dream big’ made her an ‘unsung hero of racial and economic justice’.

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