Press Release


April 5, 2018

Media contact: Malik Russell |


Baltimore, MD (April 6. 2018) – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) mourns the passing of lifelong civil rights activist Charles “Chuck” McDew, who died Wednesday at the age of 80. The second chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), McDew played a central role in mobilizing young people across the South at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

“The NAACP is deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. McDew,” said Leon W. Russell, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors. “It is quite uncanny – though perhaps poetic – that Mr. McDew’s death would coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Both men made essential contributions to the civil rights struggle, inspiring young people and training them in grassroots community organizing. April 4th will remain a hallowed day for activists everywhere.”

“Mr. McDew’s civil rights commitment and gift with young people will be sorely missed,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO. “I came to know and appreciate Mr. McDew’s legacy as a student at Tougaloo College. Mr. McDew showed the HBCU community how to get out into the streets and demand an end to the white supremacist terror that ravaged rural Southern communities. Mr. McDew’s lessons will long outlast his life, and we will continue to honor his legacy by showing up in the streets and at the polls.”


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.