Benjamin Jealous, who became the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 2008 at age 35, will resign at the end of the year. His reason? according to an interview with USA Today, Jealous would like to spend more time with his family. He and his wife, civil rights lawyer Lia Epperson, have 2 young kids, ages 7 and 13 months.
Here's what he told the paper:
"Leadership knows when to step up and when to step down...This day I can say with pride that I'm prepared to step down and make room for the next person who will lead this organization to its next chapter."
The organization's youngest-ever president, now 40, will make a formal announcement on Monday. After that, he'll start looking for work teaching at a university somewhere in the DC Metro area. Jealous published an essay with the Wall Street Journal on Sunday outlining his vision for the future of race relations in America. This has been a relatively high-profile time for the organization, and for Jealous, personally. In the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin, Jealous and the NAACP called for the Department of Justice to pursue criminal civil rights charges against Zimmerman. In his essay, however, Jealous addressed the more general priorities laid out by Frederick Douglass, to make "the most perfect national illustration of the unity and dignity of the human family:"
First, we need to internalize one simple truth: the civil rights battles of the last century took place largely in the court house, but the civil rights battles of this century will take place largely in the state house and on the local level. Winning these battles will require more than just good lawyers – it will also require a majority of voters who share Douglass’ vision of a united nation.
The NAACP hasn't yet announced a successor for Jealous.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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