Dr. Benjamin Hooks died today at the age of 85. Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:
“The Board and staff of People For the American Way was saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Benjamin Hooks, whose leadership in the civil rights movement of the last 60 years has facilitated profound change in our country and has inspired generations of Americans.
“Dr. Hooks was commitment to promoting equality and creating opportunity for all Americans. As a young man, he overcame discrimination and fought against racism, becoming a lawyer and a respected judge, the first African American criminal judge in the state of Tennessee. As the first Black commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, he opened up the airwaves to more minority voices. And in his 15 years as the leader of the NAACP, he fought tirelessly to improve the quality of lives for other, especially the oppressed.
“In dedicating his life to promoting justice and making our country a place of greater fairness and opportunity, Dr. Hooks touched all of our lives. Our thoughts are with his wife, Frances Hooks, and all his friends and family.“