Civil rights leaders said Brooks should continue advocating on issues that reverberate among young people nationally, such as the recent mass kidnapping of Nigerian school girls and the racially tinged remarks made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling that led the NBA to ban him from the league.

The NAACP came under criticism last month when news surfaced that the Los Angeles chapter was scheduled to give Sterling an achievement award just as tapes of his controversial remarks surfaced. The chapter quickly canceled the award and its president resigned, but the incident led to calls for the national organization to speed up its search for a permanent leader.

Baltimore Sun reporter Carrie Wells contributed to this article.

Cornell William Brooks

Age: 53

Work: President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Experience: Senior counsel to the Federal Communications Commission, executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington, trial attorney for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Education: Bachelor's degree from Jackson State University, master's degree from Boston University School of Theology, law degree from Yale School of Law.