Former NAACP executive director helped the organization flourish
during two difficult decades
Apr 15, 2010
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 Thursday.
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.