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Benjamin Jealous is Honors Convocation speaker

Published date: April 9, 2014

Former NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous will be the keynote speaker for VSU’s Annual Honors Convocation on Wednesday, April 9 at 4 p.m. in Anderson-Turner Auditorium.

Jealous stepped down from his NAACP post at the end of 2013, serving as the youngest president in its history. He began his career at age 18 opening mail at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  Jealous has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality and free multiple wrongfully incarcerated people. Under his leadership, the NAACP grew to be the largest civil rights organization online and on mobile, experienced its first multi-year membership growth in 20 years, and became the largest community-based nonpartisan voter registration operation in the country

Prior to leading the NAACP, he spent 15 years serving as a journalist and community organizer. While at Mississippi’s Jackson Advocate Newspaper his investigations were credited with exposing corruption at the state penitentiary at Parchman and proving the innocence of a black farmer who was being framed for arson.   While still a college student, Jealous helped lead a successful campaign to stop the governor of Mississippi from turning a public, historically black university into a prison.

A Rhodes Scholar, Jealous is a graduate of Columbia and Oxford Universities.  He has been named to the 40 under 40 lists of both Forbes and Time magazines, and labeled a Young Global Economic Leader by the World Economic Forum.  He is #1 on’s 2013 list of black leaders under 45.  Jealous lives in Maryland with his wife and two children.

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