Civil rights icon and Baptist minister Benjamin Hooks, 85, died April 15 in Memphis, Tennessee. The former executive director of the NAACP was pastor of Greater Middle Baptist Church in Memphis for 52 years before retiring in 2008. For 30 of those years, 1964–1994, he served simultaneously as pastor at Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, preaching on alternate Sundays in Michigan and Tennessee while leading the NAACP from 1977 to 1992. Trained as a lawyer, Hooks in 1965 became the first black judge in the South since Reconstruction. He was also the first African-American to serve on the Federal Communications Commission.


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