Benjamin Chavis (b. 1948) grew up in Oxford, North Carolina, attended the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, and earned advanced degrees in theology from Duke and Howard universities. He attracted international attention in 1972, when he was wrongly convicted with nine other civil rights activists of arson and conspiracy in Wilmington, North Carolina. The convictions were overturned in 1980. In 1985 Chavis became executive director of the United Church of Christ’s Commission for Racial Justice. He was elected NAACP Executive Director in 1993. Chavis urged the NAACP to bring young urban blacks into the organization and take up environmental issues. He was forced to resign in1994 for using NAACP funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. In 1997 he joined the Nation of Islam and became a Muslim minister, taking the name Chavis Muhammad.