The NAACP National Board of Directors announced its selection of Attorney Cornell William Brooks to be the Association’s next National President & CEO. He will become the 18th person to oversee operations at the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization in its 105-year history. He will succeed Benjamin Todd Jealous who stepped down after five years of service.
“We are proud to welcome Attorney Cornell William Brooks as our new president and CEO,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors. “Mr. Brooks is a pioneering lawyer and civil rights leader, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Association. We look forward to leveraging his legal prowess, vision, and leadership as we tackle the pressing civil rights issues of the 21st century.”
Brooks, a longtime lawyer and human rights activist, currently serves as the President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, based in Newark.
A fourth-generation ordained minister, Brooks has worked to pass legislation enabling previously incarcerated men and women to rebuild their lives as productive and responsible citizens, called a model for the nation by the New York Times. He successfully pushed for state legislation to reduce the effects of widespread foreclosures. Mr. Brooks has worked to develop social impact investing tools to employ more people in higher wage work.
Brooks served as senior counsel for the Federal Communications Commission, executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington, and as trial attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He has also campaigned tirelessly as an advocate for public education, affordable healthcare, and fiscal responsibility.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to be entrusted with the opportunity to lead this historic organization,” said Brooks. “In our fight to ensure voting rights, economic equality, health equity, and an end to racial discrimination for all people, there is much work to do. I look forward to working with the dynamic board and staff, and continuing the important work of the Association in advancing racial and social justice and equality for all.”
Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts from Jackson State University, a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology, and a Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School.
The Hollins Group of Chicago, Illinois, conducted the nationwide search for the new President and CEO that included a review of over 450 applications; meetings with 30 semi-finalists; and interviews with the National Board of Directors.
Attorney Brooks will be formally introduced to the NAACP membership in July at its 105th National Convention in Las Vegas, NV.