"Reading between lines of the FBI's individual reports on Baker's activities, one can almost hear the agents' queries, pregnant with all the biased stereotypes the agency held about dissidents: What is she up to? Who does she work for? What is her hidden agenda? The agents' own inability to answer such basic questions led one of them to conclude that Baker was "unstable." It was the very way that she looked at the world that made her so difficult to label. Since she saw revolution as a process, as a living experiment in creative vision and collaboration, very little, in her opinion, could be pre-determined. No blueprint could be rigidly adhered to. There was an organic interaction between the people involved in social change and those opposed; among different sectors, generations, and regions of the movement; between what we know and what we dare to dream. Although Baker had a definite worldview, which she articulated, enacted, and defended, there was fluidity and flexibility in the positions she took and the alliances she formed. Even the FBI could not pin her down."

— Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A National Democratic Vision