For more than half a century, African American photojournalist Henry Hooks documented the diversity of San Bernardino.

He pushed to get the Black community into the city’s newspapers – providing shots to the San Bernardino Sun and the San Bernardino Telegram without pay or a photo credit.

Hooks grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, one of seven children born to Sandy and Georgia Hooks. In 1942, Hooks was inducted into the United States Army Air Force where he served for more than three years as a projectionist and member of the general staff.

After he was discharged, Hooks began working as a government employee at Norton Air Force Base as a quality control supervisor and later enrolled at San Bernardino Valley College to receive a degree in business administration with a minor in photography.

After 18 years at Norton, Hooks was transferred to the Defense Contract Administrative Service in Los Angeles.

After more than 30 years as a government employee, Hooks retired in 1979 and returned to his love of photography by becoming a staff photographer for the Precinct Reporter in San Bernardino. Hooks’ images show how life in San Bernardino used to be and how things have changed over time. He photographed notable public figures from Colin Powell to Leslie Uggams.

While much of Henry Hooks’ work documented the Black community, his body of work chronicled the vast diversity of the San Bernardino area and its cultural evolution over the years. Henry Hooks significantly added to local and African American history through his photographic endeavors in San Bernardino, the place he called home since 1943. Hooks passed away in November 2021.

The San Bernardino County Museum has a collection of photographs of Hooks works that he donated and have been used in an exhibit “Community Chronicles” in 2016.

The San Bernardino County Museum is located at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (children ages 6 to 12). Children five and under are admitted free. Museum Foundation members receive a 50% discount. Parking is free and the museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. For more information, visit

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional, cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

Additional County Update News – February 8, 2024

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