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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Papers of Benjamin L. Hooks

Repository: University of Memphis. Special Collections/Mississippi Valley Collection

Collection Description (CRHP): A veteran of World War II, Ben Hooks was the product of the Memphis civil rights movement though this collection contains few materials focused on his early years of civil rights activism in the 1950s and 1960s. As for audio recordings of interviews in this collection, Box 355 includes an undated speech and interview as well as 3 tapes of a 4/22/82 Larry King Show with Hooks. Box 356 contains three tapes of another Hooks interview. Box 357 contains a tape labeled 'Listen Here' that consists of perspectives of notable African Americans on the bicentennial year of 1976. Their perspectives are interspersed with music. Those recorded are Ossie Davis, Dick Gregory, the former superintendent of schools in the District of Columbia, and Ralph David Abernathy, the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the time of the recording. General topics covered include the D.C. statehood movement, black history, U.S. history, race relations, and democracy. Box 362 contains a tape labeled 'OICAG79' that is part of a forum in which Marion Barry, Dick Gregory, and Senator Bob Dole speak. Barry and Gregory pay tribute to civil rights and anti-apartheid activist Rev. Leon Sullivan. Also, the unlabeled cassettes and video tapes may contain interviews. In addition, there are video recordings in this collection of testimonial events to Hooks. Many photographs exist in this collection, including two in Box 392 of famed civil rights photographer Ernest Withers.

Collection Description (Extant): Civil rights leader, lawyer, judge, and minister. Correspondence, speeches, newspaper columns, articles, subject files, reports, minutes, board and administrative material, printed materials, photographs, audio and video recordings, and other materials regarding Hooks' career, including his role as a Federal Communications Commissioner from 1972-1977. The bulk of the collection pertains to his position as Executive Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1977-1992. Other materials include fraternal organization materials and records of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change [at the University of Memphis.]

Date(s): 1948-2006 (bulk 1977-1993)

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: MS 445

Extent: Approximately 195,000 items, 425 cubic feet, 397 archival boxes

Extent of sound and film recordings (Part II, Sub-series VIII of his papers): 208 audiocassette tapes; 1 minicassette tape; 88 VHS tapes; 50 Beridox U-matic tapes; 7 UCA tapes; 3 KCS tapes; 22 two inch width reel to reel tapes; 27 seven inch 1/4 inch width reel to reel tapes

Language: English

Related Archival Items: The Commercial Appeal library has a video done in 2008 that includes interviews of Benjamin Hooks and other Memphians on Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream Speech; see

Interviewees: Benjamin Hooks, Ossie Davis, Dick Gregory, Ralph David Abernathy, Marion Barry, Bob Dole

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American clergy--Tennessee
African American freemasons
African Americans--Social life and customs
Civil rights movements--Tennessee
Fraternal organizations
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Race discrimination
United States--Politics and government
United States. Federal Communications Commission


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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