Speaker Bio

Cornell-Brooks's picture
Cornell Brooks
President and CEO/NAACP

Cornell William Brooks is the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 2014, he became the 18th person to lead the Association, whose members in the United States and worldwide are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.

A graduate of Head Start and Yale Law School, Brooks considers himself “a grandson, heir, and a beneficiary” of Brown v. Board of Education, argued by legendary NAACP litigator Thurgood Marshall. 

Prior to joining the NAACP, Brooks led the Institute for Social Justice as president and CEO, where he directed the passage of three landmark prisoner reentry bills, hailed by The New York Times as, “a model for the rest of the nation.” Brooks also successfully led the passage of a precedent-setting “Ban the Box” statute and laws combating foreclosures.

Brooks previously served as senior counsel at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where he led efforts to increase financing for minority- and woman-owned businesses. As a U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney, Brooks 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 discrimination based on race.