NAACP Chairwoman Steps Down; Successor Named

The chairwoman of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, has decided to step down from the post that she took over from the late Julian Bond in 2010.

Roslyn Brock was hailed as the youngest person to be elected to the post at age 44 — a development that came as the organization continued to weather criticisms that its leadership and membership were too advanced in years and too focused on events of decades past.  She was the fourth woman.

Brock will be succeeded by former vice chairman Leon Russell, elected by the board of directors at a meeting on Saturday in New York.

“I am honored to have served seven years as chairman of the nation’s most important civil rights group,” Brock said in a statement the NAACP provided to USA TODAY on Monday night.  “Leon W. Russell is a stalwart NAACP civil and human rights leader who is prepared to lead the NAACP into the future. Mr. Russell has been the chief architect in the development of the NAACP’s strategic plan and champion of its organizational policy and resolutions process. His commitment to the association’s mission of protecting civil rights for all Americans remains unquestioned.”

Brock is a health care professional and vice president of advocacy and government relations for Bon Secours Health System, based in Marriottsviille, Md.

Russell is the retired director of the Office of Human Rights for Pinellas County Government in Clearwater, Fla.

Before Monday’s announcement, social media held hints that Brock’s tenure as chairwoman was coming to an end as some on Twitter referred to her as “chairwoman emeritus” and board members congratulated her on a successful run.

Former NAACP national youth director Sammie Dow took to Twitter to congratulate Brock for “decades of civil rights leadership.”

On Feb. 18 at a board meeting in New York, Brock said, “Take care of yourself and take care of each other,” tweeted board member and educator Da’Quan Marcell Love.

NAACP President and CEO Cornell Brooks said in a statement: “Roslyn M. Brock will forever be noted in the legacy of the NAACP as a powerful and forward-thinking leader. We are forever indebted to her contributions and unrelenting sagacity.”

Brock will remain on the board.

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