Ella Baker was a key but mostly behind the scenes leader in the Black freedom struggle from the 1930 until she passed in 1986 She worked together with well known leaders such as W. E. B. Du Bois, A Philip Randolph and Martin Luther King Jr , working in the NAACP and playing a key initiating and mentoring role with the historic Black student movement of the 1960s, helping guide and train the leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Her leadership was key in the historic freedom rides the sit-in movement and the voter registration movement in the Deep South She also helped form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) which challenged the all-white Mississippi Democratic Party causing a national crisis at the DNC in 1964 After the early 1960s she continued to struggle for the rest of her life on many issues like freeing Angela Davis in support of Puerto Rican political prisoners, the anti-apartheid movement, women movement and peace movement Baker emphasized the importance of linking the struggles for civil rights and civil liberties
Sidney Poitier speaks about Civil Rights
Sidney Poitier, is a major movie star of the 1960s, Poitier grew up in the Bahamas, then came to the U.S. to start his acting career.
In 1963, Poitier became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of this achievement was later bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three well-received films—To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner—making him the top box office star of that year. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking 22nd on the list of 25
In 2002, 38 years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Award designated “To Sidney Poitier in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.”Since 1997 he has been the Bahamian ambassador to Japan. On August 12, 2009, Sidney Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom the United States of America’s highest civilian honor by Barack Obama