Prologue: I’m not the best employee in the world 🙂 , so of course I had my share of run-ins with both of them within NNPA. But today I consider both friends and, as a Black media historian, I honor deeply their demonstrated commitment to the Black press and independent Black journalism.
So, saying that, I’ll now say this:
If the NAACP is in trouble (and it clearly is), it needs a leader who would devote his or her entire energy to the task. I don’t know anything about the other candidates aside from what Curry has written.
Here’s what I do know, from my own eyes:
Between 1999 and 2001, Ben and his assistant, Adina Berrios Brooks, worked 100 hours a week rescuing and reconstructing the NNPA. When Ben came aboard, the NNPA News Service was delivered to the nation’s top Black newspapers by first-class mail. Ben and the multi-talented Raoul Dennis together transformed the nation’s Black press while I largely watched (and worked on my doctoral dissertation). Ben hired one of the most amazing women I’ve ever had the honor of knowing, Hazel Trice Edney—a crusading Black press reporter in the tradition of Ethel Payne—to be NNPA’s first fulltime Washington Correspondent in decades. (She is now the News Service’s Editor-in-Chief.) Meanwhile, Adina did so much work keeping dozens of different tasks straight, Ben had to replace her with three people when she left. When Ben himself left, the News Service had a state-of-the-art Washington bureau at Howard University and covered breaking stories in print and online.
So take all that for what you will.