A former UNC School of Law professor has been named the interim executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The organization announced the hiring of Kareem Crayton on Wednesday morning. Crayton will serve as the interim executive director while the organization is searching for a full-time replacement for Anita Earls.

Earls recently announced her intention to run for a seat on the Supreme Court of North Carolina next year.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Kareem Crayton be a part of this transition,” SCSJ Board of Directors chair Farad Ali said in a release. “In the 10 years since our founding, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice has become one of the premier civil rights organizations in our country.  We are committed to moving forward, and Dr. Crayton is the right person to help us do just that.”

Crayton has been a visiting professor at Vanderbilt University since leaving UNC in the summer of 2015.

Crayton was featured in a 2014 WCHL story on redistricting in North Carolina, which has continued to be litigated in the federal court system leading to new maps being submitted.

“The  Southern Coalition for Social Justice is vital to defending the civil rights of marginalized communities in the South,” Crayton said in a release. “Having worked with this organization over the years as a partner, I know the key role SCSJ plays in making our governing institutions more accountable and responsive.  I am therefore excited to lead the board, staff, and our community partners through this phase and to make sure we continue this important work well into the future.”

Ali thanked Earls for her service to the organization.

“There is no way that SCSJ would have accomplished everything we have without the leadership of Anita Earls,” Ali said.

Crayton’s tenure with the civil rights organization will start on January 1, 2018.