WASHINGTON — The NAACP, which has been under interim leadership since its president resigned six months ago, has chosen Cornell William Brooks, a lawyer and ordained minister, as its next leader.
He is executive director of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, based in Newark, but commutes between that state and the Washington area, where he has a home in Prince William County, Va., and is an associate minister of Turner Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hyattsville, Md.
Brooks, 53, was elected president and chief executive on Friday at an annual meeting of the executive board members in Fort Lauderdale. He spoke carefully Saturday, saying he is reluctant to articulate a vision for the NAACP before he speaks with the association's membership.
"I don't take the responsibility lightly. I am deeply humbled and honored to be entrusted with the opportunity to lead this powerful historic organization," Brooks said in an interview. "In our fight to ensure voting rights, economic equality, health equity and ending racial discrimination for all people, there is indeed much work to be done."
The NAACP has come under increased public scrutiny in recent weeks after one of its chapters was set to present a humanitarian award to Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, just days after Sterling was caught on tape making racist statements.
Other questions about the relevance of the 105-year-old organization have dogged its leaders as the country changes demographically and technologically.