A champion of minority rights and a longtime civil rights leader, Benjamin Hooks, died today. He was 85.
Benjamin Hooks had been the executive director of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for 16 years and spoke about minority rights during a conservative political era.
A spokesperson for the N.A.C.C.P., claimed that Hooks died due to a long illness. Ulysses Jones, state rep. and a member of the church, where Hooks was serving as a pastor, said that Hooks passed away at his home in Memphis.
Hooks served as the executive director of N.A.C.C.P from 1977 to 1992 and it was under his tenure that the organization grew in stature. After his inclusion in the organization he said in an interview, “Black Americans are not defeated.”
Hooks labels himself as a “poor little ol’ country preacher’ but his long list of accomplishments speak for themselves. He oversaw the organization’s positions on assenting action, foreign relations with repressive governments and ever –changing domestic issues.
During his stay, Hooks also developed a bitter relationship with chairwoman Margaret Bush Wilson who later also accused hooks of financial mismanagement. On the issue majority of the board directors backed Hooks and as a result he was never sacked.
“A hero, an icon, and a Memphis legend. He will be missed,” Memphis Mayor A C Wharton tweeted on the day of Hook’s death.
Hooks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom-the highest civilian award in 2007 by the then President George W. Bush.