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Civil and Human Rights Leader Benjamin Todd Jealous to Present at Eckerd College

By Tom Scherberger
Published February 10, 2014
Categories: Academics

Former NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous will address faculty, staff, students and members of the public at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, February 20, in Fox Hall on Eckerd’s campus. Sponsored by the College’s Afro-American Society and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Jealous will present “That One Big Thing,” in which he will identify the simple steps that can accelerate anyone toward achieving feats of great social transformation and service.

This event in observance of Black History Month is free and open to the public and is part of Eckerd’s Presidential Events Series themed “The Human Experience: An Odyssey.”

The youngest president in the history of the NAACP, Jealous began his career at age 18 opening mail at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Since then, Jealous has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights and secure marriage equality. 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. Jealous stepped down as NAACP president at the end of 2013.

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 at Amnesty International, he led successful efforts to outlaw prison rape, expose the increasing trend of children being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, and draw attention to expanded racial profiling in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. When he was 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, he 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.

For more information about events at Eckerd, visit

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