Born in Troy, Alabama, former Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, John Lewis was one of the original freedom riders and a part of the “Big Six”. Lewis played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement, including organizing the March on Washington and many grassroots struggles. John Lewis now represents Georgia’s 5th district in the U.S. House of Representatives and has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Born in Mississippi and raised in New Orleans, Ruby Bridges was the first African-American student to integrate a Southern school. The integration caused significant outrage and as a result, the Bridges family endured hardships brought on by the angered community. Nonetheless, Ruby Bridges continued attending the school, which contributed to its eventual desegregation. In 1999, Bridges created The Ruby Bridges Foundation in an effort to promote social change via education.
Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Ella Baker, a prominent civil rights and human rights activist, largely worked behind-the-scenes as an organizer for over five decades. She worked alongside and mentored many prominent activists and was the primary strategist and advisor for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Baker has been regarded as “One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement.”