06/15/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Civil Rights Leader Benjamin Hooks Leaves a Legacy of Social Service and Social Justice

Although I am sadden by his passing, I have such huge memories of Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks. I knew him as a student. He was once a great minister, great lawyer and became one of the first black judges in the South. He was also a FCC commissioner and leader of the NAACP for 15 years. While I have a great sense of loss, I have fond memories of his life's work.

As a civil rights leader who walked with Dr. Martin Luther King, he was shot at. He was invested in our struggle of the Civil Right Movement. In the wake of Dr. King's assassination our civil rights struggle was kept alive by his amazing skill as he worked to extend the Voting Rights Act.

He was a man with boundless energy, great strength and integrity. He moved the ball forward. He lived a life of great meaning and never missed a beat.

Ben Hooks did it all, did it well, and he did it over a long period of time. He fought tirelessly to tear down walls that make today's bridges possible. He took us from racial battleground to economic common ground, across lines of race and religion.

He leaves a huge legacy of social service and social justice.

We are very much in debt to his life and legacy, and we thank him for his service.

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