Civil Rights Leader, Former FCC Commissioner Benjamin Hooks Dies
April 15, 2010 at 2:24 PM (PT)
BENJAMIN HOOKS, the first African-American FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION Commissioner who became the Exec. Director of the NAACP and was one of AMERICA's most prominent civil rights leaders for decades, died early TODAY (4/15) at the age of 85.
HOOKS, an attorney best known for his term heading the NAACP from 1977 through 1992, had been host and producer of television shows in MEMPHIS before Pres. RICHARD M. NIXON appointed him to one of the Republican seats on the FCC in 1973. He served a five-year term on the Commission and continued to work for diversity in the entertainment industry after moving to the NAACP.
After his retirement from the NAACP, HOOKS served as an adjunct professor at the UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS, which named the BENJAMIN L. HOOKS Institute for Social Change in his honor, and continued to preach at the GREATER MIDDLE BAPTIST CHURCH. He was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Pres.GEORGE W. BUSH in 2007.
"As a dedicated civil rights leader and committed public servant, Commissioner HOOKS had a tremendous and lasting impact on broadcast diversity during his tenure at the FCC," said NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH. "Broadcasters mourn the loss of a great American who was committed to equal opportunity in life and on the public airwaves."