Cornell William Brooks, a civil-rights attorney and ordained minister, is the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Before leading the NAACP, Brooks served as president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. He also has served as vice chair of the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority and on the national governing board of Common Cause.
Brooks is a former senior counsel for the Federal Communications Commission, where he worked on legal and policy matters promoting small business and media-ownership diversity and directing the FCC's Office of Communication Business Opportunities. Earlier, as a U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney, he secured the then-largest government settlement for victims of housing discrimination based on testing and filed the government's first lawsuit against a nursing home alleging housing discrimination based on race.
Brooks earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Jackson State University, a master of divinity degree from Boston University and a law degree from Yale University.