Involvement in 1957-1967

“Strong people don’t need strong leaders.” — Ella Baker


Following conferences in Atlanta in 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was born. The SCLC’s main cause was to emphasize nonviolence and rely on the black church for support. Ella pulled off many large events, but in the end she said she had no allies in the office and the organization wasn’t all that fruitful. She left the organization in 1960.

Later that year, she attended the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The SNCC was a leadership conference used to express struggles and opportunities for the future. Ella believed that the young leaders could revive the movement and lead it in a new way. She helped them become independent and told them to be careful of big groups all following one leader.

Along with being a mentor and guide to young people, Baker helped create the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, an inclusive alternative to the all-white version. They obtained blacks and women the right to participate in party elections and sit as delegates. She then worked as a staff member of the Southern Conference Education Fund, but due to declining health, she withdrew from the organization in 1967.