Ben Jealous

Benjamin Jealous steps down in January after five years as president of the NAACP, an era in which he resurrected the fortunes of the nation's oldest civil rights organization. Just 35 when he started, Mr. Jealous stabilized the NAACP's finances and brought it into the social media age. Most importantly, he has restored a sense that the NAACP is an organization that matters and that is focused on issues that people care about. The NAACP under Mr. Jealous became a force to oppose efforts to restrict access to the ballot box, and it assumed moral leadership in the fights against the death penalty and for marriage equality ¿ including successes on both fronts in Maryland that might not have been possible without him. Before Mr. Jealous, the NAACP seemed stuck in the past. Now it has its feet in the present and its eyes firmly on the future.
Alex Wong, Getty Images
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