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Monday, February 15, 2016


Ella Baker was a founding member of the SCLC, the Southern Leadership Conference. And Ella Baker actually gave birth SNCC, The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee

Ella Baker's civil right's history is a long one. She joined the NAACP in 1940, and eventually served as Director of Branches from 1943 until 1946.

In 1955, Ella Baker "co-founded the organization "In Friendship" with Baynard Rustin and Stanley Levinson. The group's purpose was to raise money to fight against Jim Crow Laws in the deep South. In Friendship would eventually thousands of dollars to support the 13 months long Montgomery Bus Boycott begun by Jo Ann Gibson Robinson's Women's Political Council, the same boycott that would eventually make Rosa Parks famous and Martin Luther King a respected leader

By January 1957, Baker and Rustin had gone to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a conference aimed at developing a new regional organization to build on the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Ella Baker's aim was to start a movement that would fight for the rights of Black Americans throughout the South. In her opinion the organization would have to be a southern one so that its members wouldn’t be labeled “northern troublemakers or agitators.” 

While King, also at this conference initially thought that people needed a rest after the long 13 month battle, Ella Baker disagreed. She was afraid that momentum created by the success of the boycott and other actions would be lost if not expanded to other areas of segregation immediately.

Bayard Rustin (in New York City), having conceived of the idea of this effort, first sought Rev. C. K. Steele to take the lead role in this new organization. But Ella Baker wanted King. 
She acknowledged the objections of others, those being King's youth and inexperience. But she knew many people knew him and knew of him. She knew that the momentum of the bus boycott was still attached to this charismatic leader.

C. K. Steele eventually declined Rustin's invitation to lead the new organization, but told him he would be glad to work right beside him if he sought Dr. King in Montgomery, for the role

After a second conference in February of 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was formed with Martin Luther King as it's leader.

Once the SCLC was well established, Baker's eyes turned toward increasing the size of the organized movement with student protestors.

Read More on Ella Baker Tomorrow