Frances Hooks, the widow of NAACP leader and civil rights champion Dr. Benjamin Hooks, died last Thursday. She was 88. Mrs. Hooks, a longtime educator and philanthropist, was also instrumental in her husband’s success.
Hooks grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and attended the famed Booker T. Washington High School. Hooks attended Fisk University for her undergraduate studies and obtained a master’s from Tennessee State University. For 24 years, Hooks worked as an educator and guidance counselor in Memphis.
In 1977, Hooks became a close adviser and secretary for husband as he took on the Executive Director role at the NAACP. For over a decade and a half, Mrs. Hooks was a vital component of husband’s success at the civil rights organization. Prior to the NAACP appointment, Mr. Hooks was the first Black commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.
Mrs. Hooks co-founded the Memphis Volunteer Placement program and was a co-founder of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. She helped Black students attend some of the nation’s top boarding schools and empowered children in her hometown.
The socially conscious couple renewed their vows three times during their 50-year-plus marriage. A common refrain among those who knew them well was that their devotion to one another was exceptional.