Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Thu, 01.18.1973

Ben Jealous, Administrator, and Activist born

Ben Jealous

*Benjamin Jealous, a black administrator, journalist, and civil rights activist, was born on this date in 1973.

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., 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 was the US Human Rights Program director 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 a 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 healthcare access issues. He is a member of the Asia Society, 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 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 from Columbia College for distinguished professional achievement.

Ben Jealous stepped down as president of the NAACP in 2013.  That same year, the Davos World Economic Forum named Jealous a Young Global Leader.  He ran for governor in Maryland; the general election was held on November 6, 2018, and he 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 before becoming the Sierra Club’s executive director in November 2022.

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

I have been all my lovers I have been better than my lovers I have been those better than I the ones I’ve never met the ones I’ve met... Desire 1. by Thulani Davis
Read More