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NAACP Director Assails Reagan on Civil Rights

July 24, 1986|From Times Wire Services

SAN FRANCISCO — NAACP Executive Director Benjamin Hooks attacked the Reagan Administration on Wednesday, warning blacks that "the enemy we confront is a hostile environment" that threatens civil rights.

Hooks, speaking at the National Urban League convention, said government agencies charged with monitoring the implementation of civil rights laws are not necessarily doing their job.

"It is assumed by the public that a human rights commission will enforce state statutes. In fact, this is not so," Hooks said.

"We have crippled Jim Crow, (but) we must labor to hold onto the gains we have already won," said the leader of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.

'Hope Has Dimmed'

Referring to the centennial celebration of the Statue of Liberty earlier this month, Hooks said many people "overlooked the fact that, for many American citizens, the dream has never materialized and a glimmer of hope has dimmed."

Hooks and another convention speaker, Urban League President John E. Jacob, also criticized President Reagan for having rejected on Tuesday economic sanctions against South Africa as a way to protest its apartheid policies.

"I don't know what it will take to change this President," Jacob said. "I'm not enthusiastic this President will have his sensitivity level raised where he will act on his own (on the South African issue). So our attention, all of America's attention, must now focus on the Congress, especially the Senate."

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