The NAACP selected Benjamin Todd Jealous as its president Saturday, tapping a young, Oxford University-educated activist to lead the nation’s oldest civil rights group.
Jealous, 35, was chosen by the group’s 64-member board after a year-long search and was introduced at the group’s national headquarters in Baltimore. He is expected to start his new job Sept. 1.
In selecting Jealous, the NAACP broke with its tradition of picking politicians and ministers to lead, as it did three years ago with its selection of telecommunications executive Bruce Gordon. Jealous is the president of the Rosenberg Foundation in San Francisco, which advocates for immigrants and working-class families.
Jealous also is a former news executive, having served as executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which encompasses about 200 black newspapers, and as managing editor of the Jackson Advocate, a black newspaper in Mississippi.
“Ben Jealous has spent his professional life working for and raising money for the very social justice concerns for which the NAACP advocates,” NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said.