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Thu, 01.18.1973

Ben Jealous, Administrator, and Activist born

Ben Jealous

*Benjamin Jealous was born on this date in 1973. He is a Black Administrator, Journalist, and Civil rights, Activist.

Benjamin Todd Jealous was born in Pacific Grove, California, and grew up in Monterey Peninsula, California. His mother, who is black, met his father, who is white while teaching junior high school in Baltimore. Jealous graduated from York School in Monterey. He received his bachelor's degree in political science from Columbia College of Columbia University and a master's degree in comparative social research from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar.   He is a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and is affiliated with the Washington (DC) Alumni Chapter.

He is the past President of the Rosenberg Foundation, a private independent nonprofit venture capital organization.  Previously he served as director of the US Human Rights Program at Amnesty International.  While there, he focused on issues such as federal legislation against prison rape and racial profiling and expose the sentencing of children to life without the possibility of parole.  He was the lead author of the 2004 report "Threat and Humiliation: Racial Profiling, Domestic Security, and Human Rights in the United States," which received coverage by major media outlets in most states and on six continents.

Jealous is a former Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers. He came to Mississippi as a field organizer on a campaign to stop the state's plan to close two of its three public historically black universities and convert one of them into prison.  Jealous was Managing Editor of the Jackson Advocate, Mississippi's oldest historically black newspaper. His reporting was credited with exposing corruption amongst high-ranking officials at the state prison in Parchman, and helping to acquit a small farmer who had been wrongfully accused of arson.

He began his career as an organizer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund working on issues of healthcare access. He is a member of the Asia Society as well as a board member of Northern California Grantmakers and the California Council for the Humanities.  In May 2008, He was elected president and chief executive officer of the NAACP. He is the youngest ever-national leader of the organization. At the time of his appointment, Jealous lived in Alameda, California, with his wife, Lia Epperson, a law professor at Santa Clara University, a civil rights attorney, and their daughter, Morgan.  In 2009, Jealous received the John Jay Award for distinguished professional achievement from Columbia College.

Ben Jealous stepped down as president of the NAACP in 2013.  That same year, Jealous was named a Young Global Leader by the Davos World Economic Forum.  He ran for governor in Maryland; the general election was held on November 6, 2018, and lost.  He is a partner at Kapor Capital, Board Chairman of the Southern Elections Fund, and one of the John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs Visiting Professors at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.

Jealous was president of People for the American Way, and its associated foundation.  In November, 2022, he became the Sierra Club’s executive director.

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