Civil Right Leader Benjamin Hooks Dead at 85

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Civil Rights leader and former director of the the NAACP Benjamin Hooks has died. He was 85.

Hooks took over the NAACP in 1977. Hundreds of thousands of members joined the group during his tenure.

"Black Americans are not defeated," Hooks told Ebony magazine soon after his induction. "The Civil Rights movement is not dead. If anyone thinks that we are going to stop agitating, they had better think again. If anyone thinks that we are going to stop litigating, they had better close the courts. If anyone thinks that we are not going to demonstrate and protest, they had better roll up the sidewalks."

Hooks was also the first black appointee to the Federal Communications Commission. While at the FCC, he spoke out against the lack of minority leadership in media and urged the commission to propose a new rule requiring TV and radio stations to be offered publicly before they could be sold.

In 2007, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.

"Our national life is richer for the time Dr. Hooks spent on this earth," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "And our union is more perfect for the way he spent it. Giving a voice to the voiceless."

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