Frances Dancy Hooks, the civil rights activist and widow of Dr. Benjamin Hooks, died Thursday, reports WREG TV. The prominent educator and philanthropist was 88.
As co-founder of the Memphis Volunteer Placement program, she helped draw Black students to some of the nation’s best private boarding schools, notes the report.
Dr. Hooks died in 2010. He was the first African-American commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, and served as executive director of the NAACP from 1977-1992.
From The Commercial Appeal:
Mrs. Hooks, 88, leaves behind a legacy of activism devoted to improving education, race relations and women’s rights in Memphis and across the nation.
A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, Mrs. Hooks earned a bachelor’s degree from Fisk University in Nashville and a master’s degree from Tennessee State University. Mrs. Hooks began her 24-year career as an educator in Memphis but later served as secretary and adviser to her husband Ben, whom she called “the Catch of Memphis.”
“So many people think of her husband, Dr. Ben Hooks, but she was such a person of incredible competence in her own right,” said Jean Varnell, a friend of nearly 50 years. “They were such a team together.”
The NAACP released a statement Friday mourning the loss:
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is deeply saddened at the passing of Memphis educator and civil rights advocate Frances Hooks. Ms. Hooks, known for her dedication to education and philanthropic endeavors – both in her home in Memphis, Tennessee, and nationwide – was the dedicated wife of former NAACP leader Benjamin L. Hooks.
Frances Hooks married the renowned civil rights figure in 1951, proving to be his greatest advocate and supporter until his death in 2010. A second grade teacher in Shelby County, Tennessee, Ms. Hooks put her career on hold to assist her husband in his own roles as an activist and civil rights leader. The couple moved to Washington, D.C. in 1972 when Mr. Hooks became the first African-American appointee to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Benjamin Hooks, who began his career as a minister and attorney, rose in the legal system to become a judge and, later executive director of the NAACP, serving from 1977 to 1993.
During her husband’s tenure as executive director, Ms. Hooks became a major figure within the organization as well. Along with fellow member Earleen Bolden, she organized the trailblazing Women in the NAACP (WIN), an unprecedented project which aimed to enhance the leadership roles of women both within the Association and in everyday life. She also co-founded The People Power Project, a community advocacy group for race relations and social justice outreach, and the Memphis Volunteer Placement Program. Both organizations continue her legacy to this day.
A true example of civil rights fortitude and social responsibility, Frances Hooks was 88 years old. She leaves behind the couple’s only daughter, Patricia, two grandsons and great-grandsons.
It is with the deepest gratitude and admiration for Frances Hooks’ lifetime of civil rights dedication that the thoughts and prayers of the NAACP and its national constituency go out to her family.
Hooks’ funeral is scheduled to be held Friday, Jan. 22.
Thank you, Mrs. Hooks. Rest in peace.
21 Of President Barack Obama's Best Photos Of 2015
1. JANUARY: President Obama delivers the State of the Union address with the support of vice president Joe Biden. Obama gained mass support after his joke about winning both terms.Source:Getty 1 of 21
2. JANUARY: President Barack Obama has an adorable moment with Akira Cooper at the Community Children's Center, one of the nation's oldest Head Start providers, in Lawrence, Kan.Source:Pete Souza 2 of 21
3. JANUARY: President Obama greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi upon arrival at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi, India.Source:Pete Souza 3 of 21
4. JANUARY: President Barack Obama greets neighbors after visiting a model home at the Nueva Villas at Beverly, a single-family housing development owned by local nonprofit organization Chicanos Por La Causa Inc. in Phoenix, Ariz.Source:Pete Souza 4 of 21
5. FEBRUARY: President Barack Obama fakes a jump shot during an Affordable Care Act video taping for BuzzFeed in the White House Library. The video went viral thanks to jokes about his presidency and ultra-cool swag.Source:Pete Souza 5 of 21
6. FEBRUARY: Obama pals around with one of his biggest supporters, vice president Joe Biden. While he chose not to run in the 2016 presidential election, Obama said he would be in his corner.Source:Pete Souza 6 of 21
7. FEBRUARY: President Barack Obama talks with 13-year-old student Vidal Chastanet as "Humans of New York" founder Brandon Stanton photographs during a blog interview in the Oval Office. Obama was greatly inspired by Chastanet's comments on the popular "Humans of New York" Instagram page, where he shared his troubles finding courage in school and and life despite living in a dangerous area of Brooklyn, NY.Source:Pete Souza 7 of 21
8. MARCH: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama join hands with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. as they lead the walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches, in Selma, Ala., March 7, 2015. Malia and Sasha Obama join hands with their grandmother, Marian Robinson.Source:Pete Souza 8 of 21
9. MARCH: Obama is a classic man as he puts on a green tie in observance of St. Patrick's Day.Source:Pete Souza 9 of 21
10. MARCH: President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the event to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.Source:Pete Souza 10 of 21
11. APRIL: During the Correspondents' Dinner, his anger translator - played by Key & Peele comedian Keegan-Michael Key - helped Obama get out his biggest frustrations.Source:Pete Souza 11 of 21
12. APRIL: President Obama arrives in Jamaica to meet with the 15-member Caribbean Community. His trip marked a first for the sitting president and second since the country's independence.Source:Getty 12 of 21
13. APRIL: Obama speaks with newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office.Source:Pete Souza 13 of 21
14. JUNE: President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are seen talking during the president's trip to the G7Summit in Bavaria, Germany.Source:Getty 14 of 21
15. JUNE: President Obama sings "Amazing Grace" during the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service. Clementa was one of the nine victims who died after suspected shooter Dylann Roof entered the AME church and opened fire.Source:Getty 15 of 21
16. SEPTEMBER: President Obama is featured on the popular show "Running Wild With Bear Grylls." Obama took the trip to highlight the importance of climate control.Source:Getty 16 of 21
17. SEPTEMBER: The First Couple serve as "love goals" at the White House's state dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Madame Peng Liyuan. Obama and Xi announced an agreement on controlling climate change and a mutual outlook on cyber security.Source:Getty 17 of 21
18. OCTOBER: President Obama meets with Ahmed Mohamed, the student who was detained by Texas police for his homemade clock. The president stood by the teen, who many believe was the victim of Islamophobia.Source:Getty 18 of 21
19. NOVEMBER: President Obama issues a warning to his critics who "pop off" at his policies towards Syrian refugees. Speaking at the OP 21 United Nations conference on climate change, Obama welcomed his Republican critics to the White House to lay down their own policies. No one has responded.Source:Getty 19 of 21
20. DECEMBER: President Obama addresses the public from the Oval Office regarding the San Bernardino shooting.Source:Getty 20 of 21
21. DECEMBER: All grown up! The First Family, including Obama's mother-in-law Marian Robinson, is seen at the White House's national Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2.Source:Getty 21 of 21