BALTIMORE (October 21, 2017) —The National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), America’s largest and original
legacy civil rights organization, has unanimously elected Derrick Johnson
president & CEO, it was announced today. Johnson, 49, has served as interim
president and CEO since July of this year.
A Detroit native now residing in Jackson, Mississippi, Mr.
Johnson, who was also elected vice-chairman of the Board of Directors
in February of this year, is a longtime member, leader and a respected
veteran activist who will be tasked with guiding the NAACP through a period of
tremendous challenge and opportunity at a key point in its 108-year history.
The NAACP has undergone transitions in leadership this year as it re-envisions
itself to take on a tumultuous and contentious social and political climate. He
will have 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. “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.
Mr. Johnson has an extensive history and career legacy of
dedicated civil rights activism. He formerly served as state president of the
Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP, where he successfully spearheaded
campaigns for voting rights, worker’s rights and equitable education, and he
additionally is the founder and executive director of One Voice, Inc., a
Jackson-based non-profit organization conceived in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina
and Rita to enhance the quality of life for African Americans through civic
engagement training and initiatives.
Additionally, as a past regional organizer with Southern
Echo, Inc., another local non-profit organization, Mr. Johnson provided legal,
technical and training support to communities spanning the south. He was
appointed to the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission by the chief justice
of the Mississippi Supreme Court, owing to his years of committed service to
the people of the state.
Having earned a solid educational foundation, Mr. Johnson
attended historically black Tougaloo College of Mississippi, before going on to
earn his Juris Doctorate degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston.
He was later awarded fellowships from the Congressional Black Caucus
Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management and
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He proudly serves on the
board of directors of both the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and the
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation.