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Benjamin Todd Jealous Books & Biography


“One of the nation’s most prominent civil rights leaders” (Washington Post), former national NAACP President Ben Jealous grew up the son of a white father who descends from seven soldiers in the American Revolution and a black mother whose American bloodline flows with that of Thomas Jefferson’s grandmother.

Ben Jealous is President of People For the American Way, Professor of the Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and the New York Times bestselling author of Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding. He is also a successful tech investor who has helped grow more than two dozen startups built to have a positive social impact.

Formerly an investigative reporter at Mississippi’s frequently-firebombed Jackson Advocate newspaper, and a popular speaker on college campuses and at community and business leadership events, Jealous is known both for his raucously insightful storytelling and resilient optimism passed down by a grandmother whose own grandfather had been born into slavery and went on to serve as a statesman in the Virginia legislature.

In 2013, the Baltimore Sun named Jealous Marylander of the Year for his work helping lead efforts that passed marriage equality, abolished the death penalty and passed the DREAM Act in that state in a single year. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is the proud father of a daughter and son. He lives with his family and their dog Charlie along the Chesapeake Bay.

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