At a time when it seems like the calendar has been turned back decades, black leadership is as important as ever, and so is the NAACP.
The nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization unanimously elected as Derrick Johnson, president and CEO. Johnson, has served as interim leader since July. Earlier this year, he was elected vice-chairman of the Board of Directors. He will serve a three-year term.
“In his time serving as our interim president and CEO, Derrick has proven himself as the strong, decisive leader we need to guide us through both our internal transition, as well as a crucial moment in our nation’s history. With new threats to communities of color emerging daily and attacks on our democracy, the NAACP must be more steadfast than ever before, and Derrick has the vision, mobility and courage to help us meet that demand,” said Leon Russell, Board Chairman of the NAACP in a prepared statement.
“As both a longtime member of the NAACP, and a veteran activist in his own right – having worked on the ground to advocate for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, along with championing countless other issues – Derrick also intimately understands the strengths of the Association, our challenges and the many obstacles facing black Americans of all generations today. I look forward to continuing to work with him in this new role,” he added.
Johnson has a long history of fighting the good fight. According to the NAACP, he formerly served as state president of the Mississippi State Conference of NAACP. He also founded and is executive director of One Voice, Inc., a Jackson-based non-profit organization created after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, to improve the life of black folks through civic engagement and initiatives. He also provided legal, technical and training to support to communities throughout the south. He was appointed to the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission by the chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court. Johnson earned his juris doctorate from the South Texas College of Law in Houston, and awarded fellowships from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
No doubt, he’s going to need all that experience and wisdom in this political climate.