Speaker Profile

Benjamin T. Jealous

benjamin.jealous
Benjamin Todd Jealous is the 17th President and CEO of the NAACP. Appointed at age 35 in 2008, he is the youngest person to lead the century old organization. During his tenure, the NAACP's online activists have swelled from 175,000 to more than 600,000; its donors have increased from 16,000 individuals per year to more than 120,000; and its membership has increased three years in a row for the first time in more than 20 years. Jealous began his career as a community organizer in Harlem in 1991 with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund while working his way through college. In 1993, after being suspended for organizing student protests at Columbia University, he went to work as an investigative reporter for Mississippi's frequently-firebombed Jackson Advocate newspaper. Over past two decades, he has helped organize successful campaigns to abolish the death penalty for children, stop Mississippi's governor from turning a public historically black university into a prison, and pass federal legislation against prison rape. His journalistic investigations have been credited with helping save the life of a white inmate who was being threatened for helping convict corrupt prison guards, free a black small farmer who was being framed for arson, and spur official investigations into law enforcement corruption. A Rhodes Scholar, he is a graduate of Columbia and Oxford University, the past president of the Rosenberg Foundation and served as the founding director of Amnesty International's US Human Rights Program. While at Amnesty, he authored the widely-cited report: Threat and Humiliation--Racial Profiling, Domestic Security, and Human Rights in the United States.