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The Man Who Brought New Life to the NAACP is Stepping Down

September 15th, 2013 by in History with 350 Views

Recently, Benjamin Todd Jealous has decided to step down as the president and CEO of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). His resignation will go into effect on December 31st, at the end of the year. Over his time as president, Benjamin Jealous breathed much needed life into the NAACP. From organizing marches in order to protest the handling of the death of Trayvon Martin to massive fundraising endeavors, Jealous has made a major impact on the civil rights organization.

Family Time

The main reason that Benjamin Jealous gives for wanting to step aside is that he would like to spend more time with his family. His wife, Lia Epperson, is a civil rights lawyer. Together, they have two children, ages 13 months and 7. He has stated that working for the NAACP has taken up a lot of his time and kept him away from his family.

After leaving the NAACP, Benjamin Jealous plans on teaching. He is already in talks with several schools that are within commuting distance of the Washington, D.C. area. While his goal is to teach, he still plans on continuing his work in regards to civil rights.

At 40 years old, Jealous is not planning on completely stopping his work with civil rights. He has mentioned that he is working with other civil rights activists to keep raising money towards funding for campaigns involving black politicians.

Path to the NAACP

Benjamin Jealous was raised in California by parents that were civil rights activists. He graduated from Columbia University and became a Rhodes Scholar after earning a degree from Oxford. His career path includes working as an investigative reporter in Mississippi and as one of the founders of Amnesty International’s Human Rights division.

Leaving a Changed NAACP

It has only been five years since Benjamin Jealous became the leader of the NAACP. At the time, the organization was facing financial difficulties and many people felt that the current leaders were out of touch with the pulse of the nation. After assuming the leadership, Jealous brought interest to the organization. There was an increase in interest from younger people. The new NAACP was more technologically savvy and used social media to help bring in donations. In 2007, there were a total of 16,422 regular donors to the NAACP. This last year, the number had grown to 132,543. That is an enormous increase. The same is true of the amount of money they raised, from $25 million in 2008 to $46 million this past year.

At first, when Benjamin Jealous became president of the NAACP at the age of 35, many people were unsure if he was fit to run this large organization. In fact, when the board voted him in as president it was a close decision. Even though he was known among others involved in civil rights, the rest of the public had generally not heard of him.

In a short period of time as the president of the NAACP, Jealous has proved that he had what it took to change the face of the organization. Increasing funding and the number of donors while attracting a younger generation of civil rights activists. He has stated during his announcement of resignation, that a good leader knows when to step down and he is stepping down while ahead.


  • William Edward

    This is an interesting article. I wonder who will be taking charge of the NAACP from now on.

  • Gary

    It’s amazing to see people move on from one of the most pivotal organizations in modern day… I think his last name is weird, but Jealous made a big impact on the world. I’m glad to see the NAACP come together and bring justice to society.

  • Sakil Hossen

    Benjamin decision reason is very generous. I’ve seen many rich and responsible people forgets to give time to their family and kids. But Benjamin sense is truly admiring.