In 1960, Ella Baker called for a student conference to organize the spontaneous sit-ins spreading throughout the South. Those who gathered formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Baker was both the organization’s mentor and its fervent supporter.
Baker had served as director of branches for the NAACP and as the first executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. As an advisor to SNCC, Ella was pivotal in forming the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964, and she also helped organize voter registration projects.
Baker believed in democratic, grassroots activism that stressed the role of the everyday people, not just of individual leaders, in achieving social and political change. Ella Baker lived this philosophy, inspiring a generation of young people in the civil rights movement to do the same.
BLACK HISTORY PIONEER