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Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the work of the civil rights movement. But did you know that one of the movement’s key leaders was a woman named Ella J. Baker? She traveled around the country, convincing people to get involved in the civil rights movement. She also worked with local leaders to plan protests and campaigns. For many years, she was a leader in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She was also involved in the formation of two influential civil rights organizations. One was the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). It is best know for its involvement with Dr. King. The other was the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This group of students helped organized the Freedom Rides in 1961. 

Learn more about Baker’s life and work.

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