NAACP president receives honor from major publications

JANS – Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO, was named on October 15, 2010, one of Time Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars of US Politics.  He was also included by the prestigious Non-Profit Times on their annual Power and Influence Top 50 list.

“The NAACP congratulates President Benjamin Todd Jealous on making the Time Magazine ‘40 Under 40’ and the Non-Profit Times ‘Power and Influence Top 50’ lists,” stated NAACP Board of Directors Chairman Roslyn Brock.  “In a little over two years, President Jealous has led the Association in tackling some of the hardest issues facing the American public, including healthcare reform, the financial crisis and predatory lending. His hard work and commitment to justice allows the Association to continue in the struggle for better jobs, education and equality for all Americans.”

Time, the largest news magazine in the world, published its “40 Under 40” list this year for the first time. The inaugural list profiles 40 of the nation’s rising political leaders, including political candidates, congressional representatives and organizational leaders. President Jealous was selected and interviewed about his role in organizing the One Nation Working Together rally and his status as the youngest-ever leader of the NAACP.

The Non Profit Times (NPT), a leading business periodical for non-profit management for 21 years, has released its Power and Influence Top 50 list for each of the past 13 years. The NPT list celebrates some of the sector’s top executives and thinkers.  These executives are selected for the impact they have now and for the innovative plans they are putting in place for the future.  Past recipients include Johnetta Cole, Marian Wright Edelman, Colin L. Powell, Bill Gates and Marc Morial.

Jealous grew up believing that there was no higher calling than to further the cause of justice and equal rights. It is an ethos he inherited from his parents and grandparents. Their tireless work within the civil rights movement blazed the trail for Jealous’ own deep commitment to social justice, public service and human rights.

As a student at Columbia University, Jealous worked in Harlem as a community organizer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. On campus, Jealous led school-wide movements, including boycotts and pickets for homeless rights, a successful campaign to save full-need financial aid and “need-blind” admissions when other national universities were cutting such programs, and an environmental justice battle with the university.

These protests ultimately led to Jealous’ suspension along with three other student leaders. Jealous used this time off to work as a field organizer, helping lead a campaign that prevented the State of Mississippi from closing two of its three public historically black universities and converting one of them into a prison. He remained in Mississippi to take a job at the Jackson Advocate. His reporting – for the frequently firebombed weekly – was credited with exposing corruption amongst high-ranking officials at the state prison in Parchman. His work at the Jackson Advocate eventually led to his promotion to managing editor.

Jealous returned to Columbia University in 1997 and completed his degree in political science.  With the encouragement of mentors, he applied and was accepted to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where he earned a master’s degree in comparative social research.

Jealous eventually went on to serve as executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). While at the NNPA, he rebuilt its 90-year old national news service and launched a web-based initiative that more than doubled the number of black newspapers publishing online.

President Jealous currently serves as the 17th president of the NAACP and is the youngest person to hold the position in the organization’s nearly 100-year history.

Active in civic life, Jealous is a board member of the California Council for the Humanities, the Association of Black Foundation Executives, the Asia Society, as well as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc