MLK Jr. Celebration Features Former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous
Benjamin Jealous, former President of the NAACP, is known for revitalizing and modernizing the national civil rights organization.
ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 11, 2020) – Civil rights leader and former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous headlines UAlbany’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the Campus Center Ballroom.
Jealous is a venture capitalist, former Rhodes Scholar and former investigative reporter.
“As former president of the NAACP, director of the U.S. Human Rights Program at Amnesty International, and now working to help tech firms diversify their workforces, Benjamin Jealous has dedicated his life to bringing people together, building diverse coalitions for change and holding government leaders accountable to the needs of everyday people,” said Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Tamra Minor. “We are proud to sponsor his appearance at UAlbany, which is among the most diverse public research universities in the Northeast, and we look forward to hearing from and listening to him, to see what we might glean from his experiences and perspective that can help us advance the University’s diversity and inclusion agenda.”
Named president and CEO of the NAACP at the age of 35, Jealous is credited with revitalizing the organization. Under his leadership from 2008 through 2013, the organization increased both advocacy and outreach and increased membership by about nine percent.
During that period, the death penalty was abolished in six states (including Maryland) and Walmart began hiring formerly incarcerated people – both issues the NAACP advocated for.
Jealous was an editor and investigative reporter at Mississippi’s Jackson Advocate newspaper, writing stories exposing corruption at a state penitentiary. He was executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a federation of more than 200 black community newspapers, and an NAACP community organizer in Mississippi. He is a graduate of Columbia and Oxford universities and a former visiting professor at Princeton.
In 2018, Jealous won the Maryland Democratic primary for governor, but lost in the general election to Republican Larry Hogan.
After five years at Kapor Capital, an Oakland-based fund that invests in startup companies to create progressive social change, in 2019 Jealous co-founded the Baltimore-based investment firm, 20X.
Jealous’s talk is free and open to the public. Advance registration is requested. There will be a reception before the program begins, from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. in 1844 restaurant in the Campus Center.
Black History Month Events
The University and its Department of Africana Studies will host a series of events through the spring semester in observance of Black History Month:
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 3 to 5 p.m., CC 375: “An Historical Interrogation of the ‘N’ Word,” with associate professors Oscar Williams and Marcia Sutherland, and associate director of Residential Life Charles Rogers.
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Science Library Atrium: The University will celebrate the late Toni Morrison, a world-renowned novelist who from 1985-’89 was the former Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities at UAlbany.
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2 to 4 p.m., HU 354: “A Lesson Before Dying,” with Professor Leonard A. Slade Jr., commentary, film and discussion.
Thursday, Feb. 20, 6 to 8 p.m., HU 354: “Conversations on Caribbean Realities” with Marcus Mohalland, co-founder, Mohalland Lewis LLC Publishing Company, and members of the Pan Caribbean Student Association.
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 6 to 8 p.m., HU 290: “The Brothers: A History of the Civil Rights Movement in Albany, New York.” Brian Keough, head of the M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives, Paul Miller of Advancement, and Associate Professor Oscar Williams.
Tuesday, March 3, 5 to 7 p.m., HU 290: “William Monroe Trotter, Catalyst for Change,” with Oscar Williams.
Thursday, March 12, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., HU 290: “The Middle Continent and Its People: The Contributions of Africa and the African Diaspora to Modern Civilization,” a panel discussion with faculty member Marcel Kitissou.
Wednesday, March 25, 4 to 6 p.m., HU 290: “Levels of Racism: A Theoretic Framework and a Gardener’s Tale,” a discussion and TED talk with faculty member Annette Johnson.
Wednesday, April 8, 5 to 7 p.m., HU 354: “Education and Advisement of the Black Student,” with Imani Hill.
Friday, April 10, 6 to 8 p.m., CC Assembly Hall: “A Celebration: Cultural Expressions,” poetry, music and dance.
The New York State Writers Institute will run events that augment Black History Month events, with author Damon Young on Feb. 13, Darnell Martin’s film “I Like It Like That” on Feb. 14, poet and writer Mahogany Browne on Feb. 20, political strategists and organizers Yolanda Caraway and Minyon Moore on Feb. 27 and Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing” on Feb. 28.
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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.