The NAACP will elect a new chairperson during a meeting of the Board of Directors in New York on Feb. 20.

The 64-member body, which is the policymaking arm of the civil rights organization, will choose its new leader with a simple majority of votes.

Hilary Shelton, vice president for advocacy and director of the NAACP Washington Bureau, said he is not aware of any frontrunners for the position and that candidates will be nominated on-site.

There is some speculation, however, that Maryland resident, Roslyn Brock, the Board’s current vice president, may be a top contender. Brock did not return calls for comment by AFRO press time.

Brock, or whomever is chosen, may find themselves serving under the long shadow of 12-term chairman, Julian Bond, who announced his decision to step down on the eve of the organization’s centennial celebration last year.

“This is the time for renewal. We have dynamic new leadership,” Bond was reported as saying in a November 2008 AFRO article. “The country has a new president in Barack Obama; the organization has a new CEO in Benjamin Jealous, and we’ll soon have a new chairman of the NAACP board. The NAACP and the country are in good hands.”

Elected chairman of the board of the NAACP in 1998, Bond was an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. As a student at then Morehouse College in 1960, he was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and led students in protests against segregated facilities in Georgia.

In 1965 he entered politics as one of eight Blacks elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. He went on to serve four terms in the Georgia House from 1965 to 1975 and six terms in the Georgia Senate from 1975-1986.

Bond, now 70, said in the AFRO article that he was ready to let a new generation of leaders assume the helm of the 100-year-old organization.

“Being chairman has been a wonderful honor; however, it has been more time demanding than anything I’ve ever done,” Bond said. “I’m ready to let a new generation of leaders lead.”


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO