America’s top Black think tank has a new leader

America’s top Black think tank has selected Dedrick Asante-Muhammad as president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, succeeding Spencer Overton, who served as president for 10 years before stepping down on June 14, 2023. 

Jessica Fulton, vice president of policy, was named interim president on June 14. She will remain in this position until March 11, when Asante Muhammad takes over. 

This is the second major change in leadership at a major Black organization. 

Operation PUSH, which is based in Chicago, announced that founder Jessie L. Jackson was stepping down because of illness in July and turning over the leadership to a Baptist minister, Frederick Douglass Hayres III.

Paul N.D. Thornell, chair of the board of governors and presidential search committee chair announced that the mantle has passed to Dedrick to ensure it remains steadfastly aligned with the needs of Black communities. The Joint Center is based in Washington, D.C.

Thornell said that the board has full confidence in Dedrick’s ability and vision and is excited about the next chapter of the Joint Center under his leadership.

Muhammed said, “I am honored. I look forward to building off of the nearly 55-year legacy of this foundational Black institution. I have spent the last 25 years of my professional life dedicated to advancing the African American political economy. My upcoming position at the Joint Center is the capstone of my career.”

Asante-Muhammad has been a long-time thought leader focused on racial and economic inequality. 

He started his work as the first Racial Wealth Divide Coordinator at United For A Fair Economy. He then went to work with Chuck Collins at the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality and Common Good Program. 

Dedrick then became the Senior Director of the Economic Department of the NAACP and is currently the Chief of Race, Wealth, and Community for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, according to the Institute For Policy Studies, which is based in Washington.

Asante-Muhammad was born in Columbia, Maryland, in 1974. He earned degrees in Political Science and Government from Williams College and a master’s degree in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary.

The Joint Center was the principal organization to strengthen and advance elected African American officials during the last decades of the 20th century.