CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Dr. Benjamin Hooks, one of the country’s most noted civil rights leaders, will kick off this year’s Black History Month celebration at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

Dr. Hooks will join with BlueCross employees, community leaders and local organizations at the dedication of the company’s annual Black History Month exhibit. The ceremony will take place on Monday, Feb. 9, at 11 a.m. at the BlueCross Miller Building in downtown Chattanooga.

“We’re very fortunate and honored to have Dr. Hooks participate in our observance of Black History Month,” said Vicky Gregg, president and CEO of BlueCross. “The importance of Dr. Hooks in the national civil rights movement and his continuing work to promote race relations will not only elevate this observance but also help advance our ongoing corporate efforts to address diversity at BlueCross.”

This year’s exhibit theme, "Celebrating Black History Through Faith," will focus on the contributions of religion in sustaining the African-American community.

According to scholars, the church has served as the primary cultural and political link among African-Americans and between them and other ethnic groups. In this role the church has greatly influenced American culture—impacting slavery, inequality and the civil rights movement.

“As an ordained minister and a former president of the NAACP, Dr. Hooks will bring a unique insight into the subject matter of this year’s window display,” said Ron Harris, senior manager of workforce diversity at BlueCross. “We hope the exhibit and Dr. Hooks’ visit will educate and inspire our employees and the Chattanooga community.”

A total of 21 windows will feature information on such topics as gospel hymns, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the evolution of tribal headwear in religion.

The windows will be on display for public viewing during the month of February.

Area churches and organizations participating in the exhibit include: Notre Dame High School and the Catholic community, Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church, the Islamic Center of Chattanooga, Olivet Baptist Church, New Vernon Grove Missionary Baptist Church, New United Church, Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church, Second Missionary Baptist Church, First Baptist Church on East Eighth Street, the African-American History Museum, Christ Hope Missionary Baptist Church, St. Paul AME Church, Phillip’s Temple CME Church, and New Covenant Church.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.