President and CEO
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., entrepreneur, global business leader, educator, civil rights leader, NAACP Life Member, syndicated columnist and author is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Dr. Chavis currently is also the Senior Strategic Advisor for the Diamond Empowerment Fund that he co-founded with Russell Simmons and leaders of the global jewelry and diamond industry in 2007. Dr. Chavis was elected in 2013 to the National Board of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). Dr. Chavis is also the former President, CEO and Co-Founder with Russell Simmons 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 20.2 million readers weekly throughout the United States, Africa and the Caribbean.
A native of Oxford, North Carolina, Dr. Chavis received the Bachelor of Arts, BA, in Chemistry from University of North Carolina; the Master of Divinity, M.Div., magna cum laude, from Duke University; and the Doctor of Ministry, D.Min, from Howard University. Dr. Chavis has also 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)