NAACP Mourns Loss of Civil Rights Organizer and Political Adviser Bill Lynch

(North Carolina) – The NAACP mourns the loss of civil rights leader and New York City political adviser William (Bill) Lynch, Jr.  Lynch was a mentor and adviser to many prominent politicians and causes in New York City and across the nation, including many leaders in the NAACP. He passed away Friday afternoon.

“Bill Lynch always embodied the spirit of the NAACP,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “He was a tireless worker, dedicated to social justice, and never sought the spotlight. He will truly be missed, but his legacy lives on in the many young organizers and activists he mentored.”

“Bill was the godfather of the black organizers in the civil and human rights movement in the United States. He was also my personal mentor,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “In the fifteen years I knew Bill, there was not a single major decision I made that I did not consult him on. He was a leader’s leader, the one to whose judgment we all deferred.

“He made David Dinkins the first black mayor of New York City, David Patterson the first black governor of New York, and paved the way for the first black president of the United States,” added Jealous. “He played an immeasurable role in fostering the spirit of cooperation that defines the relationships between major civil rights leaders and between the civil rights movement and the labor movement.  Bill may have been the greatest living organizer still active in our times.”

“Not many men would embrace a young street kid that never graduated college but believed he could change the world,” stated NAACP Region 2 Director Marvin Bing. “Bill was like a father I never had, he believed in me when many laughed. He walked me through my mistakes and gave me confidence. He always said keep organizing and be true to the community. I will spend many nights crying but I will do my best to live up to the Rumpled Genius mission – to bring economic justice and social change to people and places where they never believed they had a chance. I will always love him and remember him.”

“This is a sad day, not just for the Lynch family but for me and for the country as a whole,” stated NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes. “Bill’s political advice and wisdom has reached across this nation. He was a compassionate, visionary individual who leaves a void for us in the community, but we will continue to carry on his legacy by doing the things he taught us.”

Lynch spent several decades advising political candidates and mentoring young organizers in New York City. Some of his clients have included Nelson Mandela, Dinkins and Patterson. During the 1990’s he served in Mayor Dinkins’ cabinet as Deputy Mayor for Intergovernmental Relations. In 1999, he founded the political consulting firm Bill Lynch Associates, LLC (BLA), where he has served as chairman since its founding. In 2013 the NAACP created an award in his honor.

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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 five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

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