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Recognition and Celebration of the Life of Benjamin Lawson Hooks Adopted

WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks was born in Memphis, Tennessee on January 31, 1925, the fifth of seven children of Robert B. and Bessie White Hooks; and


WHEREAS, in 1948, Benjamin Lawson Hooks received his law degree from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois and then returned to Memphis, Tennessee to help breakdown the walls of segregation; and


WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks was a veteran of the United States Army, having served in the 92nd Infantry Division better known as the Buffalo Soldiers in 1944; and


WHEREAS, from 1949-1965, Benjamin Lawson Hooks conducted his own law practice, serving as counsel for numerous civil rights leaders, as well as securing their release when arrested; and


WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks was appointed to a vacancy on the Shelby County Criminal Court in 1965, making him the first African-American criminal court judge in Tennessee, the first in the South since Reconstruction; and


WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks served in the civil rights movement, joining the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1956, along with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and

WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks became the first African-American appointee to the Federal Communications Commission in 1972, striving to increase minority employment and involvement in broadcasting; and


WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks, on November 6, 1976, was elected NAACP Executive Director in which he served for 15 years; and


WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks was awarded the 1986 NAACP Spingarn Medal in recognition of his lifelong service as the Executive Director, as well as his commitment to civil rights; and

WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks served as an ordained minister for over 50 years; and


WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks gave unselfish time and service to civic and fraternal community organizations, namely Prince Hall Masons, Omega Psi Phi, National and American Bar Association, among many others; and


WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks in November 2007, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States; and


WHEREAS, Benjamin Lawson Hooks' passion for equality, freedom, opportunity and justice for his fellowman was only paled by his love for his lovely wife, Frances, with whom he shared life together for more than 50 years and his daughter, Patricia; and


WHEREAS, this resolution, on the life of Benjamin Lawson Hooks' service of giving, helping and self-sacrifice for which he paved the way for so many, is but a snap shot of this great man's life.


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP, during this 101st Annual National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, pauses to recognize and express our deepest appreciation to this great civil rights champion, preacher, orator, family man and Executive Director Emeritus of the NAACP; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commit to keep the memory of Rev. Dr. Benjamin Lawson Hooks alive, by incorporating his love of life, commitment to others, and passion for family into our everyday life; and


BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, as we thank God for granting us the opportunity to share a part of life's journey with Benjamin Lawson Hooks that we also express our deepest appreciation and love for Frances Hooks and Patricia for sharing this great and special man with us!