Civil rights activist Ella Baker (standing third from right) with a group of young and tee
Civil rights activist Ella Baker (standing third from right) with a group of young and teenage girls at a fair sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, circa 1950s. 
© The Estate of Austin Hansen.

Ella Jo Baker

Former National Director of the Young Negroes’ Co-operative League

Ella Jo Baker, a prominent leader of the civil rights movement and founding member of the Young Negroes’ Co-operative League, worked with others to promote cooperative economics among African Americans. Baker’s roughly 45 years of active cooperative organizing, and the unique work that it spawned in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as her later cooperative work, created lasting change.

Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker address a crowd at a rally for the MFDP to be seated at th
Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Jo Baker address a crowd 
at a rally for the MFDP to be seated at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1964 .

© 1976 George Ballis

We thank the following for their contributions and support for the Cooperative Hall of Fame's Unsung Hero award, and its first inductee, Ella Jo Baker.

Baker working with young people in NYC - June 1960.jpeg

Ajowa Ifateyo

Carmen Huertas Noble

Carolyn Ross-Holmes

Cathy Statz

Denise Hernandez

Fund for Democratic Communities

Jane Hoffman

Jessica Gordon-Nembhard

Judy Ziewacz

Karen Zimbelman

Kirstie Boyette

Leslie Mead

Linda Leeks

Margaret Bau

Margaret Lund

Mary Griffin

Michelle L. Schry

Parag Rajendra Khandhar, Esq.

Rik Freeman

Rich Larochelle

Rosemary Mahoney

Thomas Beckett/Carolina Common Enterprise

Vernon Oakes

Walden Swanson & Kate Sumberg

Ella Baker (center) and Myles Horton (left) at the Highlander Folk School, 1960s
Photographer unknown/image from Highlander Research and Education Center.

Pioneer

Ms. Baker was one of the founders of the Young Negroes Co-operative League (YNCL), an early Black cooperative federation. As its National Director, she not only helped YNCL create a movement of Black and youth-led cooperatives in New York and elsewhere, but she pushed YNCL to recognize women as equals in the movement and young people as leaders.

Ella Jo Baker

Ella Jo Baker Twitter Socials - HoF 2022 (5)
Ella Jo Baker Twitter Socials - HoF 2022 (6)
Ella Jo Baker Twitter Socials - HoF 2022 (7)
Ella Jo Baker Twitter Socials - HoF 2022 (8)
Ella Jo Baker Twitter Socials - HoF 2022 (9)
Ella Jo Baker Twitter Socials - HoF 2022 (10)
Ella Jo Baker Twitter Socials - HoF 2022

Honoring and Planning Committee

Ajowa Ifateyo

Jessica Gordon-Nembhard

Margaret Lund

Nominated by:

Jessica Gordon-Nembhard

Professor

John Jay College, City University of New York

Margaret Lund

Principal

M Lund Associates