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Cornell Brooks: Race Relations and the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement

Cornell Brooks is a civil rights attorney, social justice advocate, ordained minister and the 18th chief executive officer of the NAACP. Brooks discusses the importance of the NAACP’s voice in the conversation on race relations and the recent collaboration between the NAACP and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

On his road to the ministry: "When I was a college freshman or sophomore, Stokely Carmichael, a key figure in the Black Power movement in the 1960s, came to my college campus and gave a speech.

In the speech, he asked three questions. ‘How many of you believe in the Bible?’ Everyone raised their hands. Then he asked, ‘Well how many of you have read it from cover to cover?’ No one raised their hand. ‘How many of you believe that, generally speaking, America is a great country?’ Everybody raised their hands. Then he asked, ‘Well how many of you have read the Constitution, beginning to end?’ No one raised their hand. ‘How many of you believe that Martin Luther King, [Jr.] was a great man?’ Everyone raised their hands. Then he asked, ‘How many of you have read all of his books?’ No one.

As a consequence, I felt incredibly ignorant. And so I resolved to read the Constitution from beginning to end; to read the Bible from cover to cover; and to read all of the works of Martin Luther King, [Jr.]."