Thousands say goodbye to Hooks at public viewing

Dr. Benjamin Hooks
Dr. Benjamin Hooks

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - People from across the community came together Tuesday pay their respects to civil rights icon Dr. Benjamin Hooks.  At Greater Middle Baptist Church, thousands of people poured in to Hooks' public viewing.

"That's my pastor," Minnie Berry said. "He took me into that church."

It was clear that Hooks, a civil rights icon to some, and a friend or neighbor to others, had affected the lives of many.

"I feel like it's my duty to be here to serve him," said George Jones, a member of Hooks' Masonic Lodge.

Vivian Mosby changed her schedule to be at the service.  Hooks presided over her daughter's wedding.

"It's worth it," she said.

Hazel Dukes, a former NAACP president, said Hooks' legacy will live on.

"It lives in our hearts and in our minds and in our spirits, and we will keep on because we don't want his work to be in vain," she said.

Roslyn Brock, chairman of the board at the NAACP, echoed those sentiments.

"There lived a man who had so much fire in his belly for social justice in our nation, and always challenged young people that once you're successful in life, remember to give back to your community. That was so important to him," Brock said.

Hooks' large-scale influence was evident Tuesday, perhaps nowhere more so than Greater Middle Baptist.

"That boy laying there in that casket kept me," Berry said. "He preached a right gospel."

Hooks' funeral is scheduled for tomorrow at the Temple of Deliverance Church on G. E. Patterson Avenue.

You can watch it live at 11:00 a.m. on Action News 5 and

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