Posted on November 5, 2007

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander made the following statement today following President Bush’s awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil award, to Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks, of Memphis: “Ben Hooks says that our country is a work in progress toward racial equality, and if any American’s life represents that, his does,” said Alexander, who attended Monday’s ceremony at the White House. “From his long lifetime of accomplishments, he’s seen the good, the bad and the progress that we’ve made – even though we have so much more to go.” During the White House ceremony, Hooks was described as a minister, lawyer, judge, and public servant, who has dedicated his life to equal justice under law. A pioneer of the Civil Rights movement and a leader of the NAACP, Hooks fought to extend the full promise of America to all its citizens. After Monday’s ceremony, Alexander hosted Hooks and his family as well as Governor Phil Bredesen and Congressmen Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) at a lunch in the Senate Dining Room located in the U. S. Capitol. Established by Executive Order 11085 in 1963, the Presidential Medal of Freedom may be awarded by the President “to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”