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ELLA - Power in my PEACE

ELLA - Power in my PEACE



These earrings honor Ella Baker.


Article from Britannica

Written and fact-checked by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

Last Updated: Dec 9, 2022 • Article History


Ella Baker, in full Ella Josephine Baker, (born December 13, 1903, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.—died December 13, 1986, New York, New York), American community organizer and political activist who brought her skills and principles to bear in the major civil rights organizations of the mid-20th century.

Baker was reared in Littleton, North Carolina. In 1918 she began attending the high school academy of Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Baker continued her college education at Shaw, graduating as valedictorian in 1927. She then moved to New York City in search of employment. There she found people suffering from poverty and hardship caused by the Great Depression and was introduced to the radical political activism that became her life’s work.  In the early 1930s, in one of her first efforts at implementing social improvement, she helped organize the Young Negroes Cooperative League, which was created to form cooperative groups that would pool community resources and thus provide less-expensive goods and services to members.  

Baker married T.J. Roberts in the late 1930s and then joined the staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), first as a field secretary and later as national director of the NAACP’s various branches. Unhappy with the bureaucratic nature of the NAACP and newly responsible for the care of her young niece, she resigned from her director position in 1946 but worked with the New York branch to integrate local schools and improve the quality of education for black children.  


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