The Hooks Institute’s mission originated out of the American Civil Rights Movement
(Movement). Some of the greatest and most profound changes in the fabric of American
society occurred because of the heroic courage of individuals committed to seeing
that the constitutional underpinnings of American democracy, that all people are created
equal, applied to everyone. Preserving, studying and analyzing the Movement will necessarily
require an ongoing evaluation of how our Nation treats minorities and others found
at the fringes of society. Such introspection undoubtedly will show that our American
Society has, to some extent, become more inclusive having undergone poignant changes
over the last 60 years. However, this examination will also show that despite legal,
institutional and other changes in American life, some groups remain at the bottom
of the well, trapped in what seems to be an intractable cycle of poverty and despair.
While many of the issues of the Movement remain, in some form, relevant today, the
world has become a globalized stage where we find ourselves not only seeking to address
the pressing issues of our immediate communities, but also those that confront communities
throughout our world.
The Hooks Institute will support faculty research that, coupled with community input,
will lead to concrete measures that improve the life choices of individuals. By critically
examining our initiatives, we hope to understand how to create a better quality of
life for Memphians and improve the human condition beyond the borders of Tennessee.
Our contemporary lives show us that if nothing else, inequality, poverty, global warming,
environmental, health and other issues cross all borders and ultimately impact each
of us. Because no person is an island unto herself, our communities must work together
for the good of everyone.
Dr. Hooks and his fellow Civil Rights Activists accepted the challenges of their time.
We expect to do nothing less.