Ella Baker

While we’re constantly reminded of the civil rights leaders who worked in front, those who were behind the scenes often go unrecognized. Ella Baker is one of those people. An active civil rights leader in the 1930s, Ms. Baker fought for civil rights for five decades, working alongside W.E.B Dubois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr. She even mentored well-known civil rights activist, Rosa Parks.Ella Baker is quoted as saying, “You didn’t see me on television; you didn’t see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.”

 

Fannie Lou Hamer

 

Coining the phrase, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Fannie Lou Hamer was a voting rights activist and civil rights leader. She was instrumentalin organizing Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and later became the Vice-Chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.Hamer stood firm in her religious beliefs, often quoting them in her fight for civil rights. She ran for Congress in 1964 and 1965, and was then seated as a member of Mississippi’s legitimate delegation