Civil rights champion, Benjamin Hooks dies at age 85
Montgomery, AL – - Benjamin L. Hooks, a champion of
minorities and the poor whose longtime tenure as executive director
of the NAACP included leading his organization through a deadly
firebombing campaign that targeted his group, has died. He was 85.
State Rep. Ulysses Jones, a family friend, said Hooks died early
Hooks took over the NAACP in 1977 and, by declaring "the civil
rights movement is not dead," restored momentum that had flagged
after two decades of progress toward racial equality.
Hundreds of thousands of new members joined the NAACP during
that period despite a rash of mail bombs in the South that targeted
the group and killed two people in 1989.
Hooks was the first black appointee to the Federal
Communications Commission in 1972 and received the Presidential
Medal of Freedom in 2007.