Benjamin Lawson Hooks


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Hooks, Benjamin Lawson,

1925–2010, African-American civil-rights leader, b. Memphis, Tenn. In 1972 President NixonNixon, Richard Milhous,
1913–94, 37th President of the United States (1969–74), b. Yorba Linda, Calif. Political Career to 1968

A graduate of Whittier College and Duke law school, he practiced law in Whittier, Calif.
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 named Hooks, a lawyer, Baptist minister, and former Tennessee county criminal court judge (1965–68), to the Federal Communications CommissionFederal Communications Commission
(FCC), independent executive agency of the U.S. government established in 1934 to regulate interstate and foreign communications in the public interest.
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, making him its first black member. From 1977 to 1993 he was the executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored PeopleNational Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP), organization composed mainly of American blacks, but with many white members, whose goal is the end of racial discrimination and segregation.
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. During his tenure, the NAACP focused largely on trying to preserve what had been gained in the face of a growing conservative reaction to the civil-rights reforms of the 1960 and 70s; it also suffered a membership decline. After his retirement he taught at Fisk Univ. and the Univ. of Memphis.