Hooks, Benjamin Lawson
Benjamin Lawson Hooks, 1925–2010, African-American civil-rights leader, b. Memphis, Tenn. In 1972 President Nixon named Hooks, a lawyer, Baptist minister, and former Tennessee county criminal court judge (1965–68), to the Federal Communications Commission, making him its first black member. From 1977 to 1993 he was the executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 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.