On the heels of changes that took place at the NAACP earlier this year, the NAACP board has unanimously elected Derrick Johnson president & CEO.
Johnson, a Detroit native, who was also elected vice-chairman of the Board of Directors in February of this year, is a longtime NAACP member, leader and a respected veteran activist. 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.
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, 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.
Johnson attended Tougaloo College of Mississippi, before earning 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. He proudly serves on the board of directors of both the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation.