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 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.
Carmen Huertas Noble
Fund for Democratic Communities
Michelle L. Schry
Parag Rajendra Khandhar, Esq.
Thomas Beckett/Carolina Common Enterprise
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.
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
Honoring and Planning Committee
John Jay College, City University of New York
M Lund Associates