10 Black Women Who Should Lead the NAACP

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by Ashleigh Atwell

After NAACP president Ben Jealous stepped down this week, there has been speculation over who will be his replacement. Teresa Alston, president of Baltimore's NAACP chapter, expressed interest in having a woman leading the 104-year-old organization. "As a female leader in Baltimore, I think that was a good statement for him to make that a female should be eligible for that position,” Alston told CBS Baltimore. There hasn't been a female president since Hazel Dukes in the early 90s. Here are a few women that are definitely qualified to be in charge of the esteemed organization:

Roslyn Brock

Brock is the current chairman of the NAACP, the young person and fourth woman to hold the position in the organizations over 100 year history. Brock has been a member of the NAACP for over 25 years after joining the organization as a college freshmen. Since joining, she has held several positions within the organization including President of the Youth and College Division and Youth Board Member from Region 7 as a student and Vice Chairman of the NAACP Board Health as an adult. She was also instrumental in the organization's public support of marriage equality and HIV advocacy. Brock's extensive history with the organization and leadership experience make her a perfect fit. In addition, Brock's experience as a health advocate would be beneficial in light of the nation's dialogue surrounding Obamacare, a policy that will greatly affect Black Americans.

Tamika Mallory

Mallory knows a thing or two about running an organization thanks to her experience working with one of the most recognizable faces in Black activism. In late August, Mallory stepped down as executive director of the National Action Network, the advocacy organization founded by Reverend Al Sharpton. She has been active in NAN since she was 15 years old but a personal tragedy had a major effect on her activism. Mallory became an outspoken opponent of gun violence after the father of her son was shot and killed 12 years ago when her son was only two-years old. She spoke at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and although she isn't executive director of NAN anymore, her activism will continue. "I will continue to apply my expertise as an advocate to build deeper partnerships within the private sector through strategic communication and diversity planning," she said in her exiting statement. "I look forward to continuing my activism around important social causes." Perhaps that expertise could be taken to the NAACP.

Rosa Clemente

As a black Boricua, scholar-activist, former Green Party Presidential candidate and hip-hop activist, Clemente would bring an extremely unique perspective as President of the NAACP. An experienced community organizer, Clemente has been instrumental a movement that uses hip-hop to push Black political action. She has worked with several organizations including Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Black August Collective and Black World Youth Caucus, where she serves as coordinator. NAACP has had trouble attracting younger members so Clemente's experience with hip-hop activism and youth engagement could be a great way to draw millennial members.

Julianne Malveaux

A former president of Bennett College, a historically Black college for women, Malveaux is an experienced lecturer and has served scores of organizations. She is an outspoken advocate for women's and civil rights. She is also an experienced lecturer that has spoken at over 500 colleges and has appeared in scores of media outlets including CNN, Essence Magazine and The Progressive. She has been involved with scores of organizations including National Child Labor Committee, American Economic Association, National Economic Association, Bay Area Association of Black Journalists, and Delta Sigma Theta. In addition, Dr. Malveaux co-founded African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom. She has also been majorly influenced by the work of W.E.B. DuBois, one of the co-founders of the NAACP. Perhaps she could honor her hero's legacy by taking over the organization.

Melissa Harris-Perry

I'm sure there are plenty of people that believe Harris-Perry as president of the NAACP is far-fetched but she is more than a television host. The author, professor and writer also has leadership. She is the founder of the Anna Julia Cooper Project, an organization dedicated to the investigation of the intersectionality of gender and race for black women. In addition, she has used her show as a platform to introduce topics like privilege, transphobia and rape culture into American dialogue. As President of the NAACP, she has potential to make those topics and several others a part of the Black community's conversation.

Stefanie Brown

Brown is the current The National Director of the Youth & College Division for the NAACP so her experience with that division could be instrumental in bringing younger members into the NAACP. In addition, she worked with the Obama campaign in 2012 to encourage African American people to vote in the election. She has also worked with National Steering Committees and/or National Boards for Generational Alliance, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Katrina Information Network and New Light Leadership Coalition. She has also received numerous honors including Essence.com’s Top 10 Emerging Political Leaders of 2010; Howard University School of Business Young Business Leaders Award 2010; Ebony Magazine’s 2007 Top 30 Young Leaders under the Age of 30. Like other NAACP leaders on this list, her work with the organization is extensive. "Stefanie has been a leader within the NAACP family since she was 14 years old," a NAACP spokesman told the Huffington Post. "She has helped develop a generation of young leaders around the country."

Mandy Carter

Although the NAACP has come out in support of marriage equality, there is a lot more they could do. Carter has been an LGBT and civil rights activist for over 45 years and credits Dr. King's social justice work for sparking her own. She is also the co-founder of two LGBT organizations, Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and National Black Justic Coalition. In addition to her own organizations, she has worked with Barack Obama's campaign, the Democratic National Convention, the Southern Leadership Conference and the NAACP. She could help bridge the gap between LGBT and African American advocacy and as an out lesbian, she would make history.

Carmen Berkley

Berkley is the current executive director of Generational Alliance, a consortium of 20 youth organizations that serve women, people of color, LGBT people and low-income people. She has worked with organizations like Choice USA and the One Nation Working Together Campaign. Berkley's honors include one of the top 40 under 40 by Washington Life Magazine, and a Organizing and Labor Award from the Women's Information Network. In addition, Berkely has been an active member of NAACP and served as a regional director for the organization. Her experience with running organizations and working directly with youth make her another qualified candidate.

Jotaka Eaddy

Eaddy is another potential candidate that has experience with the NAACP. Eaddy Senior Advisor to the President and CEO and Senior Director for Voting Rights for the NAACP meaning she works directly with departing president Ben Jealous. She has more than 15 years of experience in advocacy. She was instrumental in the passage of Roper v. Simmons, the law that ended the juvenile death penalty. In light of Trayvon Martin and the discussion it has sparked about black youth, Eaddy could help keep that conversation and action going.

Shavon Arline-Bradley

Arline-Bradley currently serves as NAACP's Director of Health Programs. She has over a decade of experience in public health and after graduating from Tulane University, she worked in New Orleans to help residents live healthier lifestyles. Key issues she has worked on includes obesity, HIV/AIDS and healthcare reform. To Arline-Bradley, deciding to work with the NAACP wasn't a hard decision for her. "It was a no-brainer for me to be involved in a 100-year-old organization that had never lost its brand name," she told Loop21.

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