Ben Jealous is a man of his word. He made a promise to his seven-year-old daughter that after 5 years at the helm of the NAACP as the youngest president and CEO in its 104-year history, he would call it quits.
Jealous said that his responsibilities kept him away too much from his wife Lia Epperson, a civil rights lawyer, and children, daughter Morgan, and son Jack, 13 months.
“Leadership knows when to step up and when to step down,” Jealous said. “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.”
Effective Dec. 31 Jealous, who came in at age 35, will resign and the next chapter will officially began. But who should take over the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization?
A petition created by Michael Cottman, an award-winning journalist and author, wants a new direction for the historic organization founded in 1909.
BE THE CHANGE! NAACP: Hire the first woman president in the NAACP’s 104 year history | Petition http://t.co/6TZwrtIqaE
— Tom Joyner (@TJMShow) September 14, 2013
“It’s time for a radical change at the top: The next president of the NAACP should be a woman,” said Cottman in his petition.
“From Benjamin Hooks, to Benjamin Chavis, to Kweisi Mfume, to Benjamin Jealous, it’s not only time for the NAACP to elect a woman president, but there shouldn’t be another NAACP president named Benjamin either.”
Ebony magazine agrees, too, that a woman should take over the helm.
The magazine listed the director of African-American voting for the Obama 2012 campaign Stefanie Brown James, former Bennett College president Julianne Malveaux and several other woman as qualified applicants for the job.
“The NAACP can send a great signal that a change has come by choosing an African American woman to head the organization,” Ebony said.
“I’m the 17th president of the NAACP and the 17th man,” Jealous told USA Today, hinting toward the next direction of the NAACP. “I do expect that the next president of the NAACP will be different in some way.”
About the NAACP:
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
Tommy Meade is the Editor of HBCU Buzz. Follow him on Twitter @tommymeadejr