The NAACP announced Monday that it was naming Lorraine C. Miller, a member of the organization’s national board, to serve as interim president and chief executive. She will be the first woman to serve as president of the nation’s preeminent civil rights organization.
Miller comes to the position following the resignation of Benjamin Todd Jealous, who will step down in January after five years as president and chief executive.
“This is a moment of great change and great opportunity for the NAACP,” said Roslyn M. Brock, the chairman of the 104-year-old organization.
“We are excited to work with Lorraine C. Miller during this time of transition. We are confident that Lorraine will serve the association with a steady and experienced hand as we continue the search for the next president and CEO,” Brock said.
In a statement, Miller said, “I am honored to have been selected for this venerable role.” She added: “I look forward to continuing the path forged by Chairman Brock and President Jealous in the months ahead. These are important times, and the important work of the NAACP will go on.”
Professionally, Miller is a real estate broker. She also was the first African-American clerk in the House of Representatives, from 2007 to 2011. Earlier, she worked for a number of House speakers, including Nancy Pelosi, Thomas Foley and Jim Wright.
In September, when Jealous announced his plan to step down, it came as a surprise to many in the civil rights community. In his tenure, he oversaw a dramatic improvement of the organization’s finances, membership and visibility.
Jealous said he decided to leave the position of president and chief executive in order to spend more time with his family, saying that he had spent nearly 150 days away from home and his wife and two children since 2008.
“Lorraine is a natural fit as interim president of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization,” Jealous said. “She comes into this position with two decades of experience working for the U.S. House of Representatives and an even longer career in civil rights advocacy and policy. She will have the honor of leading the dynamic staff of this great organization.”
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