The Civil Rights Movement was one of the most important movements for equality in American history. Most people are aware of the male leaders in the movement. However, there were many influential female leaders, such as Ella Baker. Ella Baker is one of the most overlooked central figures in Afro-American activism. Her life experiences drove her to become involved in the Civil Rights Movement and her upbringing helped her to become a strong independent woman. She was able to translate her knowledge and experiences from her childhood into the organizations that she helped develop. Ella Baker's life work and dedication as an organizer and advocate influenced everyone she came in contact with.
At an early age Baker was taught about religion, family, and the importance of being self-sufficient. She grew up in a female-centered community where women had a voice. Baker had influential elders in her childhood who showed her the importance of being independent.
Her mother was active in local missionary societies and was a talented public speaker. Even though she was born into a middle-class family, her grandparents had been slaves and shared their life experiences with Baker. Her maternal grandmother had been born into slavery. She was a fun loving person, but also told tales of suffering and struggling, and of slave revolts. One story she shared was of being whipped for refusing to marry the man selected for her by her master (Payne 886). Baker came from a long line of militant fighters, like her grandmother. This is why she may have chosen the road she did. She was raised with a group of people that had great influence on her way of thinking and acting. Her grandmother showed Baker that it was okay to speak out against...