The Case for Black With a Capital B



A Conversation with Roslyn Brock, Chairman of the Board, NAACP

Roslyn McCallister Brock, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) national board, was the keynote speaker at the centennial gala for the Boston Branch on September 17. Last year she succeeded Julian Bond, becoming the fourth woman and the youngest person to serve in the position. In recent years, the organization has been accused of lacking relevance and not addressing the concerns of younger African Americans. However, during the gala, it seemed like there was an explicit effort to redress these complaints.

NAACP Boston Branch President Michael Curry said that the main reason he pursued his current position was because Brock was a strong, young leader who brings new ideas to the table.

“And I got to hear her speak at the NAACP conference in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, and was blown away,” Curry said.  “I said immediately to my staff that we have to get her to speak at our gala.”

Brock also spoke a great deal about how the “NAACP is changing with the times” with new initiatives addressing black unemployment, education and health care, as well as using social media to reach the masses.  Clearly, the complaints about the organization’s irrelevance struck a nerve with some folks on the national board.  Concerns were first raised during the “Jena 6” incident, where six black teenagers were convicted of assaulting a white teenager in Jena, La. in 2006.  The NAACP and other civil rights leaders were accused of reacting to slowly to the case.      

Two years later Ben Jealous became the organization’s youngest president; however, there were many that complained at the time that he was “selected” by Julian Bond to maintain the status quo.  

While she is the youngest person to hold the position, Brock has been involved with the NAACP for 25 years.  She said that with her experience, she will be able to see through the internal changes smoothly.

“Yes, we are changing,” she said.  “But we must never forget the real problems that we still have to deal with.  Now it is more important than ever for all of us to work together.”

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