2017 Join Hands for Change
Hooks Policy Papers
James McGrath Morris
African Americans in Fayette County, TN line up to register to vote.
Mapping Civil Rights
Critical Conversations

Teaching, Studying, and Promoting Civil Rights and Social Change

PURSUING THE dream to reality

The Hooks Institute's mission of teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change is reflected in its programming, which includes funding faculty research and community service projects; hosting conferences, symposia, and lectures; and promoting and recognizing local and national scholarship on civil and human rights.

Explore the Benjamin L. Hooks Papers Website!

Explore the civil rights movement and beyond through the eyes of civil rights leader, former NAACP director, and former FCC commissioner Benjamin L. Hooks! Access the collection here!

The papers of Benjamin Lawson Hooks span close to 400 boxes, containing correspondence, speeches, printed materials, administrative files, photographs, and audio and video recordings that pertain to his life, especially his role as executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1977-1992.

The Benjamin Lawson Hooks Papers collection is housed in the Preservation & Special Collections Department of the University Libraries, University of Memphis.This digitization project is a cooperative project of the Libraries and the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, University of Memphis.

2016 Hooks Institute Policy Papers: Race, Class, and Social Justice in Memphis: A Call to Bridge the Great Divide

The 2016 Hooks Institute policy papers use Memphis and Shelby County as a starting point to discuss, and propose solutions to, national issues of race, class, and public policy. "The Long Way to a Safer Memphis: Local Policies for Crime Prevention Need Structural Change", written by Simone Tulumello, Ph.D. (Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Lisbon, Portugal), looks at the need for sound structural policy changes in order to create flourishing communities, as a reliance on the policing of minority and poor communities will not do so. "Transportation, Urban, Form, and Social Justice in Memphis", written by Charles A. Santo, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department Chair, City and Regional Planning, UofM), calls for us to rethink public transportation, claiming a lack of efficient and reliable public transportation limits the ability of the poor to improve their economic standing and harms the economic growth of Memphis and Shelby County. "Ideology and Division: How We Got Here, How Do We Get Back? The Search for Unity", written by Eric Groenendyk, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, UofM), insists we are not as politically divided as we seem; believing if we focused on communal and individual needs, rather than ideology alone, we would find more in common than we think.

20 Years and Counting! See the Hooks Institute's Featured Article in the  Spring 2016 University of Memphis Magazine! 

Our History

With the approval of the Tennessee Board of Regents and funding from the United States Congress and the State of Tennessee, the Hooks Institute was created in 1996. It was founded by Benjamin Hooks and the Department of Political Science and College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Memphis. Together, their common goal for the Institute was to play a pivotal role in framing and solving community problems through the wisdom and vision of pioneers such as Benjamin L. Hooks.