Reverend Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., entrepreneur, global business leader, educator, chemist, civil rights leader, NAACP Life Member, syndicated columnist, theologian, and author is currently the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA): The Black Press of America. Dr. Chavis serves on the Board of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). Dr. Chavis is also the former President and Co-Founder of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), the world’s largest coalition of hip-hop artists and recording industry executives. Dr. Chavis’ award-winning syndicated column for the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) reaches 30 million readers weekly throughout the United States, Africa and the Caribbean. Read More >
A native of Oxford, North Carolina, Dr. Chavis received the Bachelor of Arts, BA, in Chemistry from University of North Carolina. He even earned his Masters of Divinity, M.Div., magna cum laude, from Duke University while serving an unjust 34 year prison sentence as a member of the Wilmington 10, who Amnesty International declared political prisoners, a case that garnered international attention and was pardoned 40 years later. He also received the Doctor of Ministry, D. Min, from Howard University and completed course requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., in systematic theology, from Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Chavis is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. began his career in 1963, as a statewide youth coordinator in NC for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1970, Chavis was appointed Southern Regional Program Director of the 1.7-million-member United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice (UCC-CRJ) and by 1985 was named the Executive Director and CEO of the UCC-CRJ. In 1988, Dr. Chavis was elected Vice President of the National Council of Churches of the USA.
In 1993 and 1994 Dr. Chavis served as the Executive Director and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and remains an active supporter of the NAACP. In 1995, Dr. Chavis was the National Director and organizer of the Million Man March. From 1995 to 1997 Chavis was the Executive Director and CEO of the National African American Leadership Summit (NAALS). The 2010 theatrical release of the full-length movie Blood Done Sign My Name distributed by Paladin, directed by Jeb Stuart, starring Ricky Schroder, Nate Parker, and Lela Rochon depicts a true story from Dr. Chavis’ early days in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960’s and 1970’s in his hometown of Oxford, NC.
Dr Chavis has authored books and other publications including: An American Political Prisoner Appeals for Human Rights, Psalms from Prison, Toxic Waste and Race in the United States of America: A National Report on the Racial and Socioeconomic Characteristics of Communities with Hazardous Waste Sites, Report of Fact Finding Mission of African American Church and Community Leaders to the Republic of Angola, Pastoral Letter on Contemporary Racism and the Role of the Church, The National Agenda: Public Policy Issues, Analyses, And Programmatic Plans of Action (2000-2008), and FUSION: Bridging the Gap between Civil Rights and Hip-Hop with MC Lyte (2015). His areas of expertise include corporate diversity and inclusion, human rights, climate change, voting rights, bridging the gap between civil rights and hip hop, and criminal justice reform. Read Less ^