Saying he needs a break, national NAACP president Kweisi Mfume said Tuesday he is stepping down as president after nine years in the post.
The NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights group.
Mfume said he's in good health and denies that his decision had to do with an internal struggle in the group.
Meridian NAACP president Walter Patton said the organization has been in good hands.
"It's definitely going to be a great loss and I don't think he's going to stray too far away," said Patton. “I think he'll still have some input. He's done a lot of traveling. He really did a great job with the organization."
The NAACP's legal counsel, Dennis Hayes, will serve as interim president during the search for a new leader.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.