Benjamin Hooks (African-American Leaders) by Heather Lehr Wagner

By Heather Lehr Wagner

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While the SCLC was founded on principles of love and understanding, it frequently encountered neither during its attempt to spark change. Its campaign of nonviolent direct action often was met with violent response on the part of those opposed to changing the policies of segregation that dominated daily life, particularly in the South. The SCLC organized demonstrations, marches, boycotts, and sit-ins as a response to discrimination. The SCLC contained many African-American ministers, since they had often been at the forefront of addressing the needs of their community.

For this reason, Hooks’s appointment carried with it heavy baggage—intense expectations on the part of certain groups that his appointment would quickly lead to greater opportunities for African Americans in the media. The FCC was created by an act of Congress on June 19, 1934, to merge the administrative responsibilities for regulating broadcasting and wired communications under a single agency. The FCC has the power to license operators of the various services it regulates, to assign station frequencies and power, to classify stations and prescribe their services, to approve equipment and mandate standards for acceptable levels of interferences, to make regulations for stations with network affiliations, to prescribe qualifications for station owners and operators, and to levy fines and order stations to cease operation if they are in violation of FCC regulations.

Julia’s two sons, Henry and Robert, both became talented photographers, establishing their own photography studio known as Hooks Brothers Photographers. They became active in Memphis politics and society, and their children would hold jobs as civil servants, educators, and politicians. Julia Hooks lived to be ninety years old, playing the piano until only a few weeks before her death. She died in 1942, but her life continued to inspire her grandson, Benjamin Hooks. “What trials, what travails, what tribulations we have seen,” he said.

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