Civil Rights pioneer a Republican? - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Civil Rights pioneer a Republican?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The story of Benjamin Hooks is an exploration of this nation's long, complex and difficult history of race in America. It is also the story of how this nation was and can be transformed by committed visionaries, like Hooks, if they are determined to make every second of their lives count to fulfill their duty of the hour.

If you're older you may think you know a lot about Hooks' journey from the segregated back streets of South Memphis during the Great Depression, the Memphis "reign of terror" on the black community, World War II, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. But, some will be surprised by the fact that Hooks was also a Republican.

"At the time Ben Hooks became a Republican, he was really joining the party of Lincoln and this was a party that was recognized as a sympathetic party after the Civil War and that view of Republicans lasted really into the late 1950's. So, Hooks became a republican in that era and the film also shows why many in Memphis did not want to become a democrat and that was because of the Crump machine," explains Daphene McFerren, the executive producer of the documentary "Duty of the Hour."

McFerren says the film will also make a point to young people that almost all of us can make a personal commitment to get involved with issues and people that shape our world, but that it does not happen without sacrifice.

"Duty of the Hour" has a special screening at the University of Memphis on Monday evening. The film officially premieres at the Orpheum on April 20.

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