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Theresa Fambro Hooks

Theresa Fambro Hooks was an award winning columnist and photographer for The Chicago Defender. Born May 5, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois, Hooks graduated from Parker (now Robeson) High School in 1953 and went on to attend the University of Illinois, Roosevelt University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in their Fashion Design Department.

Joining The Chicago Daily Defender in 1961, Hooks served as woman’s editor and society columnist and published articles in the daily pages about social and community events, food and fashions. She also wrote an advice column as “Arletta Claire” and a column called “Social Whirl,” later renamed “TeeSee’s Town.” In “TeeSee’s Town,” Hooks covered the “good news” in the community including art, theatre, culture and the movement of Chicago’s business, corporate, community and social leaders. Her other professional positions included manager of community/public affairs for Philco-Ford’s Chicago Residential Manpower Center and special assistant to the president of Olive Harvey College for public information. As president of Theresa Fambro Hooks and Associates, she provided public relations, communications and marketing services for ETA Creative Arts Foundation, National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Abraham Lincoln Center, The Woodlawn Organization, among others.

Hooks was active with the Girl Scouts, various YWCAs, the Westside Association of Community Action (WACA), Midwest Sickle Cell Association, West Chesterfield Garden Club, and Adoption Information Services. She was national president of the National Association of Media Women and received the Phenomenal Woman Award at V-103’s Expo for Today’s Black Woman, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Public Relations Society, the Russ Ewing Legacy Award of Excellence, Outstanding Journalist from the Chicago Association of Black Journalists, and The Fashion Connection Award. Hooks was a member of Christ United Methodist Church.

Hooks was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 16, 2009.

Hooks passed away on January 31, 2016.

Accession Number

A2009.145

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/16/2009

Last Name

Hooks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Fambro

Occupation
Schools

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Paul Robeson High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

St. Anselm's School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Theresa

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HOO06

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Have A Blessed Day.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/5/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tuna

Death Date

1/31/2016

Short Description

Newspaper columnist Theresa Fambro Hooks (1935 - 2016 ) was a longtime society journalist at the Chicago Defender where she maintained a popular column, 'Teesee's Town.'

Employment

Chicago Defender

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Theresa Fambro Hooks' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Theresa Fambro Hooks lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about her mother's early experiences in Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about the origin of her father's name

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Theresa Fambro Hooks recalls her paternal grandparents' home in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Theresa Fambro Hooks remembers her father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about her parents' organizational activities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Theresa Fambro Hooks remembers the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Theresa Fambro Hooks remembers segregation on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes her mother's civic involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes her interest in photography

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Theresa Fambro Hooks lists the social clubs she covered for the Chicago Defender

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about black-owned publications in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Theresa Fambro Hooks remembers covering President Barack Obama's inauguration

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes her coverage of social events in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes her coverage of social events in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about reporting on cultural events in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about her public relations firm

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes the challenges she faced as a society columnist, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes the challenges she faced as a society columnist, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about gossip columns

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about her authority at the Chicago Defender

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about her hiatuses from the Chicago Defender

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes her writing style

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes the process of writing her column

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Theresa Fambro Hooks remembers the election of Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Theresa Fambro Hooks reflects upon her career at the Chicago Defender

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Theresa Fambro Hooks talks about her family and friends

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Theresa Fambro Hooks describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Theresa Fambro Hooks remembers the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Theresa Fambro Hooks narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Theresa Fambro Hooks narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$9

DATitle
Theresa Fambro Hooks remembers covering President Barack Obama's inauguration
Theresa Fambro Hooks remembers the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Transcript
Is there any particular event that you enjoyed covering the most? I mean--$$Um-hm.$$--most of 'em are annual events, right? Most of 'em are annual (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yes, yes. Well, I always enjoyed going to the Snakes [Royal Coterie of Snakes] and the 40 Club [Original 40 Club]; those were the two top ones. And Mr. Sengstacke was--John Sengstacke [John H. Sengstacke] was a member of both, and he always would invite me, or make sure that I got an invitation to cover it for the Defender [Chicago Defender], and I always looked forward to that.$$Okay. What made that event more exciting?$$Well there was the, it was the caliber of the members; they were all the professional men, the doctors and the lawyers and judges, and you know, it was just the caliber of men that--they were all very professional men. And the--of course their ladies were all gorgeously dressed and wore the latest of fashions, and so that would--that always made it fun to watch them and to see what they were wearing.$$Okay.$$And I didn't--I wasn't taking pictures then, so we always had--like Tony Rhoden or somebody would be taking pictures for them, and we would run them in the paper the next week--usually the next week.$$Okay. When you look back on your career, is there any (cough)--or what would--excuse me--what would be the biggest events that you covered?$$Well, the biggest event is the most recent event, and that was the inauguration of [HistoryMaker] President Barack Obama. I didn't cover it for the Defender, I went on my own, but I went to several of the parties and took pictures. They--but we had a photographer that took pictures for the Defender that ran in the paper, but that was the biggest thing; that was very exciting for me. I had decided early on when it looked like--that he was gonna win, that I was gonna be there. I say I've got--there's no way in the world that I cannot be there. So I looked forward to that from the summer, I had made up my mind that I was going. I had gone--I was in Washington [D.C.] for an anniversary party with some friends, and that's when they were talking about, "He's gonna win." I said, "Well if he's gonna win, I'm gonna be there." So that was the biggest thing I covered, but it really--I didn't cover it for the Defender. I covered it for my, for myself. But that was the biggest thing that I've done--I've been involved in in my life. I do believe I will treasure that moment forever (laughter).$The most memorable moment in my life at the Chicago Defender was the night that Dr.--was the afternoon that Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was assassinated. I was down in the, in the new- in the composing room. At that time, we were in the basement of the 2400 South Michigan [Avenue]. And I was down there. It was a Thursday, and the paper came out that Friday. And I was down there overseeing the women's pages. And I heard someone from upstairs hollering, saying, "Dr. King has been shot, Dr. King has been shot." And I ran up the steps and the teletype machines were just going. They were just ding, ding, dinging. And I said, "What is, what is going on?" And they said, "Dr. King has been shot." So immediately, I mean the people were just--phone calls were coming into the Defender, you know, "Is it true? Dr. King's been shot?" And we were saying yes. So we knew that our night ahead of us was gonna be long and tirome--tiring. So we decided, the newsroom, Sam Washington, Dave Potter and I think Betty Washington and I, we decided we better go get something to eat because we were gonna be there for quite a while. So we went down to the--there was a restaurant on 22nd Street/Cermak Road, called Batt's [Chicago, Illinois], and we went down there to eat. And I guess it was about, at that time it was about four o'clock, and we were sitting there, not saying much of anything. And the waitress came over and said, "He's dead." And, of course, we all just dropped, you know, our hearts just dropped. So the owners of Batt's [Nathan Batt] came over to the table. He knew us, and knew who we were. And he came over, and he said, "It's on me." And we were, you know, getting ready to pay. We're trying to get out of there and get ready to pay. And he said, "It's on me. You don't have to pay." So we came back to the Defender. And we started giving out assignments, who was gonna do what and cover--I was gonna try to get, call people and get some reaction on the phone, and somebody else was gonna go in the library and pull out photographs. Somebody else was gonna pull out some of his, his quotations and we were gonna have to just almost redo the front part of the paper all over again. And we started, and we went on and, and people who had gone home for the day, like Audrey Weaver and Lloyd General, they came back, I mean without--it amazed me because this was the first time I had ever seen a newsroom really at work and had come together. And people just start coming in, you know, without anybody calling them; they just knew that they needed to be there. And they all came in, and we sat there, and we worked. We cried, we worked, we cried. Eventually, John Sengstacke [John H. Sengstacke] who had been in Detroit [Michigan] called and said, you know, "What's going on?" And, "How's the city?" And we're saying it's, you know; it's upheaval. You know, there're fires all over the place. So he said, "I'll be right there." So, he jumped on a plane and came home, and he said when he was in the air, and they were circling Midway [Chicago Midway International Airport, Chicago, Illinois], he could see the fires down on the ground. And it just bothered him so much 'cause he loved Chicago [Illinois] so much. And he came back to the Defender, and we worked again. And Tom Picou [Thomas Maurice Sengstacke Picou], who was our managing editor at that time, he was there. He came in. And we all sat around, and we finally put the paper together. And then we sat there, and then we cried. We just all cried. We tried to--we had done what we could. We knew we had put a paper together that we could be proud of, that Dr. King could be proud of if he could see it. We had done the best we could. And the king was dead and all we could say was, "Long live the king." And we had done a job that nobody thought--nobody ever reckoned that we would have to do. But we did a good job, and we were very proud of ourselves. And it was the moment that I will never--I never will forget at the Chicago Defender; how we all came together and produced, without anybody hollering at anybody, anybody getting angry with anybody, anybody upset with anybody else. We were all, we just were there, we were there for Dr. King. And we had done a job, and the king was dead. And long live the king.$$Thank you very much.