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By Heather Lehr Wagner

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Extra info for Benjamin Hooks (African-American Leaders)

Sample text

Mary Britton was involved in the suffrage (votes for women) movement, and served as 29 BENJAMIN HOOKS the president of the Lexington women’s improvement club. She also wrote hundreds of newspaper articles protesting racial segregation, which were published in such newspapers as the American Citizen, the Lexington Leader, and the Daily Transcript. Mary Britton eventually decided to go back to school, ultimately graduating from the American Missionary College. She then returned to Lexington, Kentucky, where she became the first African-American woman to practice medicine in that city.

The Hooks family was not willing to suffer in silence. Robert Hooks was stern and strict, and both Robert and Bessie worked hard to ensure that their children set high goals and then achieved them. “So many today have a harum-scarum life,” Hooks recalled in a 1976 interview in the Washington Post. “But because of that training I have a fairly disciplined life. ” A sense of service was demonstrated by all older members of the Hooks family. Julia Hooks was a clear example to all of her grandchildren, but young Benjamin also saw from the examples of family members and family friends that being relatively well-off meant that they had a respon36 Childhood in Memphis This photo taken in 1927 shows young Benjamin, his mother Bessie, and his five brothers and sisters.

Here we see Bessie Hooks (seated) holding Benjamin’s sister, Mildred. Standing left to right are young Benjamin, brother Raymond, sister Julia, cousin Ethel, brother Charlie, and brother Robert. 37 BENJAMIN HOOKS sibility to help out those less fortunate. He also gained from their example an understanding that there was also a duty to fight for greater rights for African Americans. Hooks felt that he belonged to “sort of a militant family”—his older sister worked as a secretary in the Memphis branch of the NAACP during a period of time when simply joining that organization was viewed as risky.

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