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NAACP Preparing Committee to Search for New CEO

By Brett Zongker Associated Press | 9/10/2013, 3:06 p.m.
The NAACP's board is forming a search committee to find the next president and CEO for the nation's largest civil ...
Ben Jealous

The Rev. Al Sharpton said he felt "mixed emotions" about Jealous' announcement, which included sadness because Jealous had led the organization so well.

"Not only was he able to revive the NAACP and raise its budget to higher heights, he joined us in the streets in real civil rights activity on the ground," Sharpton said in a written statement. "From the 'suites to the streets,' he will be missed as head of the NAACP, but I am sure he will not leave us in his contribution to the struggle."

Jealous began his career as a community organizer in Harlem with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He was suspended from Columbia University in New York City after organizing student protests and went on to work as a reporter for the Jackson Advocate newspaper in Mississippi.

Jealous has led the NAACP to advocate against "stop-and-frisk" police tactics and stand-your-ground laws following the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. He has also fought to abolish the death penalty at the state level, in Maryland, New Mexico, Illinois and Connecticut.

During Jealous's tenure, the NAACP also has embraced gay rights in a historic vote to endorse same-sex marriage in May 2012. "Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law," the group said, citing the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

Associated Press writer Phillip Lucas in Atlanta contributed to this report.