After a half-decade as the productive leader of the civil rights group that Dr. Martin Luther King helped found, Charles Steele Jr. is stepping down.
“The time is right for new leadership,” the 62-year-old Steele said Sunday. However, he said he will continue to work as a consultant for the Atlanta-based group, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
During his tenure at the SCLC, Steele led the near-bankrupt organization to financial stability and helped build its new headquarters. He also helped it establish conflict resolution centers abroad.
In 1957, King, Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth, Bayard Rustin and others founded the SCLC to address civil rights issues.
In the 1960s, the group shifted focus to fighting poverty, believing that this evil was the root of inner-city violence.
SCLC vice president Byron Clay of Kenner, La., will serve as interim president until a successor is found, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.