The selection of Brooks came as the nation celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the Supreme Court which outlawed segregation in public school, a lawsuit that was argued by the organization's legal arm.
Brooks, 53, of Annandale, New Jersey, will become the organization's 18th national president, replacing interim leader Lorraine Miller. Miller has been serving in that position since Benjamin Jealous ended his five-year tenure last year.
NAACP chair Roslyn Brock said the organization's board made a final decision Friday night, and told The Associated Press of the selection Saturday morning. Brooks will be formally presented to the organization at its national convention in Las Vegas in July.
The organization had hired The Hollins Group Inc., of Chicago to lead its search for a new CEO and Brooks was selected from more than 450 applications, Brock said.
Brooks, a minister who is originally from Georgetown, South Carolina, is currently president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a Newark, New Jersey-based urban research and advocacy organization. He graduated from Jackson State University, received a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology and got his law degree from Yale.
Brooks has worked as a lawyer for the Federal Communication Commission and the Justice Department. He also ran for Congress as a Democrat in Virginia in 1998. He still owns a home in Woodbridge, Virginia.