Ella J. Baker was the daughter of Georgia Anna Ross and Blake Baker of Elams, NC. She was born in Norfolk Virginia. The family returned to North Carolina when she was seven years old to a home on East End Avenue in the town of Littleton. Her home remains today and is maintained by family. She was a civil and human rights activist, affectionately known as the, "Fundi", a Swahili word meaning a person who teaches a craft to the next generation. She has quietly worked behind the scenes with Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall and alongside of Rosa Parks, Diane Nash and Stokely Carmichael. She graduated Valedictorian Class of 1927 from Shaw University and then moved on to New York City. Her activism included joining the NAACP to work on school desegregation and police brutality issues. She served two and a half years at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta before returning to the campus of Shaw University to organize college students for SNCC, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee with a focus on voter registration. There are several books about her but the one entitled, Ella Baker, Freedom Bound by Joanne Grant was made into the documentary, "Fundi", the Ella Baker Story. Her legacy continues at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights located in Oakland, California and at The Ella Baker School in Manhattan, N.Y. She is remembered in her hometown with the designation of the Historic Highway Marker and recognition of April 15th as Ella Baker Day.
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The Ella Baker Educational Project of NC, Inc., evolved from in-depth research regarding the life and times of Ella Baker initiated in 2003 by historian, Florine Bell, while studying the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s at North Carolina State University. This research consisted of numerous invaluable interviews of Bakers relatives and friends, exploratory trips to her native home town of Norfolk, VA including childhood homes of Elam and Littleton, North Carolina. Countless hours of relentless research were conducted within community libraries, colleges, universities, register of deeds offices extending from NC to VA and other literary resources. In a quest to bring more awareness of Ella Baker, the granddaughter of slaves, and her accomplishments from behind the scenes to the forefront, an application was submitted in 2011 to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for the North Carolina Historical Highway Marker in honor of Ms. Baker. The sign was approved with guidelines to be installed near Baker’s home place in the town of Littleton. An Ella Baker Historical Highway Marker Committee was organized in 2012 to oversee the dedication of the historic marker with the assistance of Baker’s cousin, Carolyn Ross-Holmes, and a host of Baker enthusiasts.
Additional honorary measures evolved with requests to the Littleton and Halifax County Commissioners respective of 2015-2016 for an annual day in observance of Ella Bakers legacy. The Commissioners responded with proclamations for an annual 15th day of April in recognition of the Littleton civil rights activist legacy. The official date was considered due to its significance of the Student Non-Violent Movement and beginning of the early student sit-ins undertaken by Ella Baker and hundreds of students during the week of Easter, April 15-18, 1964 at the campus of Shaw University, Baker’s alma-mater.
The Annual Ella Baker Day Committee immediately organized leading to the first Ella Baker Day event occurring on April 15, 2016 in the town of Littleton. Attendees included Ella Baker's great niece, Dr. Carolyn Brockington, along with a host of other relatives, staff of the Ella Baker School of The Julia Richman Education Complex of Midtown Manhattan of New York and hundreds of other guests from as far away as Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, and other areas of the nation. The Annual Ella Baker Day Committee has since developed into the Ella Baker Day Educational Project of NC, Inc.
"In order for us as poor and oppressed people to become a part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed. This means that we are going to have to learn to think in radical terms. I use the term radical in its original meaning- getting down and understanding the root cause. It means facing a system that does not lend itself to your needs and devising means by which you change that system."
Ella Baker 1964
The above quote from Ms. Baker is a call to action to anyone willing to do the work to effect change in addressing social injustices in our society. The Ella Baker Honors Award is given to individuals for their enduring courage and leadership in the struggle for a more perfect union. A uniquely designed award has been made to honor the memory of Ms. Baker and serves to encourage the recipient and anyone who reads its content. The award is a framed print adorned with a collage of photos of Ms. Baker in her practice of activism. One of her many quotes is selected that best characterizes the recipient and is inscribed along with the honoree's name and the occasion presented.
The Honor Roll is the official registry of names of recipients of this award from the Ella Baker Educational Project of NC, Inc. Nominations for the award runs from January 15 through February 28. Honorees are notified by March 10 and award presented at the Ella Baker Honors Award Gala.
Dr. Cosmos George , Retired Physician, current President of the Warren County, NC Branch -NAACP, voter registration, Moral Monday, Highlighter of the Digital Divide. Award presented April 7, 2017
Rev. Florine Bell, Pastor of New Hope Apostolic Church, longtime community activist, researcher and historian, founding initiative for Ella Baker Historic Highway Marker, Ella Baker Day and organization. Award presented April 7, 2017.
Rev. Dr. Charles E. McCollum, Sr.- Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church is committed to being "a voice for the voiceless" in the community as an activist and strong leader of numerous civic organizations, voter registration, and commemorative events. Award presented April 7, 2017.
Laura Garcia, retired Principal of the Ella Baker School located in New York City. For 20 years carried the spirit of Ms. Baker's style of collective participation with an emphasis on critical thinking skills set for students in leading a progressive K-8 public school. Award presented at her retirement celebration May 2017.
Rep. John R. Lewis, United States House of Representative from Georgia's 5th congressional district. A prominent civil rights leader, a freedom rider and one of Ms. Ella's "kids". Award presented September 2017
David H. Harvey, President of the Halifax County Branch of NAACP, continues to lead the charge for equity in public education.Presented April 2018
Angela R. Bryant, recently appointed by NC Governor Cooper to the state's Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission. She is an Inclusive Diversity and Organizational Development Consultant. She honorably served six terms as a NC State Legislator. Presented April 2018
Retired Congresswoman Eva Clayton, First African-American female to Congress representing North Carolina's First Congressional District from 1992-2002. Born in Savannah Georgia has dedicated herself to public service in North Carolina and the nation since the early 1960's. Clayton remains active in the community lending her expertise and guidance to the next generation of citizens committed to public service.
Attorney, Theaoseus Clayton Sr. (T.T.) practiced law in North Carolina for more than 50 years in areas of criminal law, property, voters' rights, civil rights and employment discrimination. His most renowned employment discrimination lawsuit was waged over a 20 year period, involving 2,900 claimants and was settled at the Supreme Court. Mr. Clayton passed away April 4, 2019.
Rebecca Lynch Copeland Growing up on her father's small farm in the 1960's taught Rebecca Copeland many valued lessons that deeply influenced her belief about family and community. She has dedicated over 20 years to community service in various ministries and civic organizations. She is a Halifax County native, a gospel preacher, a lover of family and is avid about building strong people and strong community.
Schedule your group for an Ella Baker Tour to historical sites of her life in Littleton and Elams, NC , also a free viewing of documentary, Fundi, the story of Ella Baker.
Contact us with your request!
Social Justice issues for the 21st century includes a new cause that will have a major impact on our historical advocacy for equity in education- Broadband - It's the 21st century utility and coding is its language therefore coding is the 21st century literacy!
As of July 2017, due to HB44 all North Carolina schools were to transition from paper textbooks to digital learning. Households with children without internet connection are left out on access to digital textbooks and study guides, free online tutorials for subjects in every grade level K-12, exploratory resources to supplement learning experiences and access to applying for scholarships to colleges and universities. Internet access opens the doors for curious and creative thinkers to explore global opportunities in education and cultures. Parents have improved access to school records and efficient ongoing communications with teachers and school administrators.
The internet is the platform for many services that improve the quality of life for people of all ages in terms of healthcare, health monitoring, home health care surveillance, home security, finance, higher education, real estate, travel, and entertainment. There is so much more to having access to the internet then social media, even though its how most people get their news and sports updates today.
The educational impacts are the primary reasons we will continue our advocacy to ensure affordable internet access is available to all. To complement efforts in raising awareness about impacts, we will sponsor events and activities focused on strategically preparing for the new opportunities in forthcoming digital age.
Leading up to Ella Baker Day we are hosting on April 7, 2018- Django Girls- a free 1 day coding workshop to introduce girls in grades 9th - college to the digital world of coding with the end product of each girl creating a website! For details click on the "Workshop" button below. Ongoing coding workshops are being planned for 2018.
Thank You to our Forum panelist
Dr. Lenora Taitt-Magubane
Dr. Carolyn Brockington
Dr. Lea Williams
Ella Baker Day 2018 is now a wonderful memory for all who attended any of the events of the day!
A Tremendous THANK YOU to all the 2018 exhibitors:
Warren County Library
Warren County NAACP
Halifax County NAACP
Roanoke Valley (NC) Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Warren County Schools
NC Cooperative Extension Office
The Ella Baker Educational Project of NC, Inc.
A 21st Century education is all about digital learning. Digital learning provides the most up to date information available to students in all subjects that was once in textbooks that could be quickly out of date and costly to replace as frequently as the content changes. Therefore, no more textbooks. They are being replaced with desk top computers, lap top computer, tablets and chrome books. Many k-12 schools are making that transition. Most college campuses are already there, so new incoming students need to be ready! Instruction now includes You Tube videos for student to watch as the center of the lesson. Study chapters are now being “downloaded” for use at home. The students are making the adjustment quickly but it may be a challenge for parents that grew up using textbooks as the only way to learn and study. The temptation to resist the change is real but it will only set students further back if not encouraged or provided with the “new tools” for learning.
It’s time to make visits to the schools. Request parent workshops to present information about digital learning. Make sure your community has access and affordable broadband for everyone.
The Ella Baker Educational Project of NC, Inc., is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
Florine Bell, Founding Advisor
Dr. Carolyn Brockington
Dr. Lenora Taitt-Magubane
Carolyn Ross-Holmes, Executive Director
Educational project to promote awareness regarding the life and legacy of civil rights activist, Ella J. Baker for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. Foster awareness and understanding of cultural enlightenment and diversity appreciation. Providing internships or volunteer opportunities to facilitate community engagement.
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