Remembering Benjamin Hooks

Former NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks opened doors. “Many of the rights we take for granted today were made possible by the courage and tenacity of Ben Hooks and others of his generation who devoted their lives to the relentless pursuit of equality and justice for all,” writes National Urban League CEO and OtherWords contributor Marc Morial, of the civil rights leader, who died April 15 at 85. He “pursued that mission wherever he went–as a soldier, lawyer, judge, preacher, teacher, FCC commissioner, and civil rights leader. As a Sergeant in World War II, assigned to guard European prisoners of war, he suffered the indignity of being refused service at ‘whites only’ restaurants, while his prisoners were allowed to eat. After leaving the military, he pursued a career in law…In 1965 he became the first African-American criminal court judge in the State of Tennessee.” As the first African-American Federal Communications Commission, he struggled to expand minority ownership of radio and TV stations. Dorothy Height, another civil rights leader, died April 20. OtherWords will run a Marian Wright Edelman op-ed about her in our April 26 editorial package.