NAACP president won't be returning as leader

Frederick Owens
May 20, 2017

Russell and Johnson announced what they described as a "transformational, system-wide refresh and strategic re-envisioning" for the NAACP in a Friday evening conference call with reporters. The objective is to best position the respected national organization to confront the realities of today's volatile political, media and social climates.

"The leadership of the NAACP has chose to implement an organization-wide refresh and strategic re-envisioning to determine how best to position the organization to confront head-on the many challenges of today's volatile political, media and social climates", the organization said in a statement. NAACP Board Chairman Leon W. Russell and Vice Chair Derrick Johnson will lead the organization until a new president is selected. After three years under Brooks' leadership, NAACP is looking for a new president. "We know that our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters expect a strong and resilient NAACP moving forward, as our organization has been in the past, and it remains our mission to ensure the advancement of communities of color in this country", Russell said.

"We want to be informed by those who are the people we serve", Russell said.

Brooks told the New York Times he was "baffled" by the choice not to extend his contract. "Beyond that, I can't point to any substantive reason", he said.

"Brooks gave a passionate defense against critics who he said think of the NAACP as a diminished organization: 'We do not crawl on the ground!" Before taking this position, Johnson was the State President of the Mississippi NAACP and Executive Director of One Voice Inc. He also has proposed cuts in education spending and environmental enforcement and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called for harsher sentencing against most criminals.

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Some civil rights leaders said Friday they praised Brooks' civil rights record and the group's attempt to revamp itself. "I've been inspired by him".

Nekima Levy-Pounds, the former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, said she was surprised by Brooks' ouster but was pleased to see the group pushing itself to adapt. After all, both Presidents Obama and Clinton attended this week's convention.

Founded in 1909, the organization had a hand in advocacy efforts that yielded the Supreme Court decisions on desegregation of public schools and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, among several major civil rights victories for African-Americans and other racial minorities. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.

The NAACP has been around for 108 years, and is credited with historic social justice victories against segregation, separate but equal schooling and voter suppression.

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