Ben Jealous

Ben Jealous – National Action Network’s 14th Annual Convention on April 11, 2012 – Washington Convention Center – Washington, DC, USA – Photo Credit: Aaron J. Thornton / PR Photos

Birth Name: Benjamin Todd Jealous

Place of Birth: Monterey, California, United States

Date of Birth: January 18, 1973

*father – English
*mother – African-American

Ben Jealous, also known as Benjamin Jealous, is an American civil rights and civic leader, environmentalist, and politician. He is executive director of the Sierra Club. He was previously President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), from September 1, 2008 to November 1, 2013, and President of People for the American Way.

Ben is the son of Ann Frederica (Todd) Jealous, a psychotherapist, author, and activist, and Frederick Smith “Fred” Jealous, who was also a civil rights activist. Ben’s father, who is from Maine, is white, and from a family with deep roots in New England, going back to the 1600s. Ben’s mother, who is from Petersburg, Virginia, is black. A picture of Ben with his mother and maternal grandmother can be seen here.

He has two children with his former wife, NAACP lawyer Lia Epperson.

A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2014) stated that Ben’s genetic ancestry is:

*80% European
*18.2% Sub-Saharan African
*0.5% Middle Eastern and North African
*0.2% East Asian / Native American

In his 2016 book about the show, Finding Your Roots, Season 2: The Official Companion to the PBS Series, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote that Ben’s European ancestry was mostly Northern European, and that his African DNA matches southeastern Bantu (Mozambique, Angola), as well as Benin and Togo, the Ivory Coast, and Ghana, and smaller amounts from Cameroon, Congo, and Senegal.

Ben’s paternal grandfather was Sargent Jealous (the son of Lionel Frederick Jealous and Evelyn Sargent). Ben’s grandfather Sargent was born in Winslow, Kennebec, Maine. Lionel was born in Lawrence, Essex, Massachusetts, the son of English parents, Francis Hugh Jealous and Charlotte G. Long, who was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. Evelyn was born in Leicester, Worcester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Harry Edward Sargent and Annie Laura Trask. Through his Sargent line, Ben is a great-great-great-great-nephew of Joseph B. Sargent, who founded manufacturer of locks and hardware, Sargent & Co.

Ben’s paternal grandmother was Annette Smith (the daughter of Joseph Cummings Smith and Ethel Maude Locke). Annette was born in Hanover, Grafton, New Hampshire, and had deep roots in the state. Joseph was born in Canaan, Grafton, New Hampshire, the son of Leonard Wood Smith and Lucy J. Youngman. Ethel was born in Bristol, Grafton, New Hampshire, the daughter of Levi M. Locke and Fannie M. Smith.

Ben’s maternal grandfather was Edward Jerome Todd, Jr. (the son of Edward Jerome Todd and Bessie Gregory Rawlings). Ben’s grandfather Edward was born in Petersburg, Virginia. Ben’s great-grandfather Edward was the son of Burwell Todd and Julia Anna Morgan. Bessie was the daughter of William G. Rawlings and Amanda S. Oliver.

Ben’s maternal grandmother was Mamie Willinette Bland (the daughter of Frederick Frank Bland and Bessie Ethelwood Neale). Mamie was born in Hanover, Hanover Co., Virginia. Fred was the son of Edward D. Bland, a Reconstruction Era politician in Virginia, and of Nancy Jones. Bessie was the daughter of Jordan Neale and Minerva Starkes. Ben’s maternal great-great-great-grandfather, Peter G. Morgan, was also an influential black politician in the late 1800s.

Sources: Information about Ben’s appearance on Who Do You Think You Are?, 2014 –

Genealogy of Ben Jealous –

Marriage record of Ben’s paternal grandparents, Sargent Jealous and Annette Smith –

Marriage record of Ben’s paternal great-grandparents, Joseph Cummings Smith and Ethel Maude Locke –

Marriage record of Ben’s maternal grandparents, Edward Jerome Todd, Jr. and Mamie Willinette Bland –

Obituary of Ben’s maternal grandfather, Edward Jerome Todd, Jr. –

9 Responses

  1. leojainen says:

    This appears to be the obituary of his maternal grandfather:
    The marriage record of Edward Jerome Todd and Mamie Wilenette Bland:

  2. beatrizxx says:

    Another white looking mullato
    It’s funny always theses white looking mix race people got more European ancestry.
    In this case he is not even a Quadroon.
    I’m sure if mix race people like Mariah Carey, Jennifer Beals,Vin Diesel make a DNA test the results will be more European.

  3. andrew says:

    However the influential “black politician” Peter G. Morgan was actually mixed-race:

  4. boxingandmmaguy says:

    looks white to me

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