H. Claude Hudson, a national director of the NAACP and longtime civil rights activist who once was jailed for his efforts to end segregation, has died at age 102.

Hudson, a dentist for 58 years, had been hospitalized since Saturday with pneumonia. He died Thursday.Since 1953, he served on the national board of directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and had devoted his life to ensuring equality for all people, friends said.

"He was one of our great freedom fighters," said Jose DeSosa, state chairman of the NAACP. "Dr. H. Claude Hudson has left his footprints in the sand throughout the United States in his effort and involvement in the NAACP."

Hudson was born April 19, 1886, the son of sharecropper parents in Marksville, La., and came to Los Angeles in 1923, reportedly at the urging of Louisiana law enforcement who felt he stirred up too much trouble while president of the Shreveport, La., chapter of the NAACP.

"At that time, being a member of the NAACP was tantamount to being a member of the suicide club," said family spokeswoman Gisele Hudson.