About the Collections

The Special Collections at the University of Memphis Libraries, also known as the Mississippi Valley Collection, contains approximately 60,000 books on a wide range of topics including regional history, natural history, and culture. Special Collections is also home to some of the most historically significant primary source materials on the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike and other civil rights activities in Memphis and surrounding areas.

See how the Hooks Institute and Special Collections at the McWherter Library are working to preserve the civil rights history of the Mid-South!


In 1998, Dr. Hooks donated his personal papers to the University of Memphis (UofM). These papers chronicle his legal, civil rights, and public service career. The Hooks Institute managed the cataloging of these papers.

William Love, Collection Specialist, is assisting the Hooks Institute and the UofM Ned R. McWherter Library to digitize portions of Dr. Hooks's archival material and photographs from his personal collection, time at the NAACP, and more.

In 2006, the University of Memphis acquired photographs, documents, and other primary source materials from activists of the Fayette County, TN Civil Rights Movement. That Movement began in 1959 when African Americans demanded the right to vote. The Hooks Institute acquired these primary source materials and managed their cataloging.

Both the Hooks Papers and the Fayette County Collection contain contemporaneous records of local and national events, and are invaluable resources on the Civil Rights Movement.

We encourage the general public to contact the Hooks Institute with documents, photos, and any other relevant materials concerning issues of human and civil rights that can be added to the archive Special Collections at the University of Memphis. Please contact us at bhi@memphis.edu or 901-678-3974.