Benjamin Todd Jealous grew up believing that there was no higher calling than to further the cause of freedom in this country and in the world. It is a mindset he inherited from of his parents and grandparents. Their drive for community betterment blazed the trail for Jealous’ own deep commitment to social justice, public service and human rights activism. Now, as the 17th President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP, and the youngest person to hold the position in the organization’s nearly 100-year history, Jealous is well positioned to answer the call.
During his career, he has served as president of the Rosenberg Foundation, director of the U.S. Human Rights Program at Amnesty International and Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 black community newspapers. From his early days of organizing voter registration drives up until his nomination and election as NAACP president, Jealous has been motivated by civic duty and a constant need to improve the lives of America’s underrepresented. All things considered, Jealous’ leadership roles and active community involvement have well prepared him for his current duties as president of the NAACP. In fact, his path through journalism and the Black Press is not unlike several other former NAACP presidents, including Roy Wilkins, Walter White, Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. Dubois.
Active in civic life, Jealous is a board member of the California Council for the Humanities, and the Association of Black Foundation Executives, as well as a member of the Asia Society. He is married to Lia Epperson Jealous, a professor of constitutional law and former civil rights litigator with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. They presently reside in Washington, DC with their young daughter.