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U of M Will Screen Documentary on Dr. Benjamin Hooks February 4th

For release: January 10, 2013
For press information, contact Daphene R. McFerren, (901) 678-3974

A free public showing of Duty of the Hour, a documentary on the life of the late Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks, will be held on Feb. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at the Michael D. Rose Theatre at the University of Memphis. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton will introduce the film. Duty of the Hour is a production of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis.

This event is free and open to the public; however, RSVPs are required. They should be sent to by Jan. 31, and should include the name of the person reserving seats, the number of guests, and a daytime telephone number. Seating for guests, and for groups greater than 20, may also be reserved by calling (901) 678-3974. Parking is available in the public garage on Zach Curlin Street.

Duty of the Hour is the first documentary to explore the life of Civil Rights leader Benjamin Hooks and his dramatic intersection with many of the defining historical moments in the American Civil Rights Movement. The film explores his journey from the segregated backstreets of south Memphis during the Great Depression, the Memphis “reign of terror” on the black community, WWII, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and the accession of Hooks to the grand stage of American public life.

The documentary consists of interviews with Dr. Hooks as well as a host of individuals who worked with him through the civil rights era and those who can bear witness to a life lived in pursuit of social justice. Among those interviewed are President Jimmy Carter, Senator Lamar Alexander, Congressman Steve Cohen, wife Frances Hooks, civil rights advocates Hazel Dukes, the Rev. Billy Kyles, Maxine Smith, Vernon Jordan, and historian Laurie Green. The extensive use of archival film footage and photographs of Memphis and the Civil Rights Movement highlight the historical events in which Hooks was an active leader and participant.

Daphene R. McFerren, director of the Hooks Institute was the executive producer of the film. Reece L. Auguiste, a former visiting professor in the U of M’s Department of Communication and now a faculty member at the University of Colorado, was the co-producer, director, and writer of Duty of the Hour. Tony Dancy, a Nashville filmmaker, was co-producer, director, and editor of Duty of the Hour. Julian Bond, noted civil rights activist and also the narrator for the award winning documentary Eyes on the Prize, was the film’s narrator.

In 1996 University of Memphis officials received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to create the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change in the College of Arts & Sciences. The mission of the Institute is teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change. The Hooks Institute archives include Hooks’ personal papers, which are housed in the Mississippi Valley Collection in the University’s McWherter Library.


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