“I think that individual would also have to be someone who resonates with young people, young activists across the country,” Brock said.
Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said the group’s biggest challenge going forward will be finding “someone — some man, some woman — who can carry the banner as Ben Jealous did and carry us onward and further onward to greater and greater victories,” Bond said.
“We want somebody who would be as vibrant and as energetic as he or she possibly can,” Bond said.
Several board members agreed that the job takes a toll.
Jerry Mondeshire, the head of the Philadelphia NAACP and a national board member, said friction between Jealous and Brock may have led to the former’s early departure.
“I think the combination of the strain on his family, and the ongoing friction, he decided to exit earlier,” said Mondeshire, adding that he was a critic of Jealous at first but that he was won over by Jealous’ fundraising and modernization of the NAACP.
Brock said she is not aware of any tension that drove Jealous out.
“As with any organization, you’re never going to have, with a 64-member board, everyone in agreement on any one issue at any given time,” she said.
Brock said the board devised a strategic plan with Jealous to guide the group for years to come.
“An organization that is 104 years old, it can’t be really about one person doing the job,” she said. “It has to really lie within the hearts and minds of those who believe in the mission.”
Jealous has been praised for boosting the organization’s finances and helping to stabilize it. In the year before Jealous arrived, the NAACP cut its national staff by a third because of what a spokesman described at the time as several years of falling fundraising revenues. Also that year, former NAACP President Bruce Gordon abruptly resigned after clashes with the group’s board.
The 40-year-old Jealous says he wants to spend more time with his family, teach at a university and start a political action committee focused on promoting black and Latino candidates, along with progressives of all races.