2020 Events

Upcoming Events

Oct. 20, 2020Occupied Territory

Hooks National Book Award Presentation: Occupied Territory by Simon Balto

6pm | Virtual Event

Check back for more details

Past Events

June 22, 2020

Online Community Conversation on How We Can Collectively Work to Reform Our Communities to Value, Protect and Invest in Black and Brown Lives

Monday, June 22, 2020 | 1 – 2 PM

Join us via Facebook Live on the Hooks Institute's FaceBook Page: facebook.com/benhooksinstitute/

Black lives Matter BookAmanda Nell Edgar and Andre E. Johnson, University of Memphis faculty and authors of The Struggle over Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter, examine one of the defining social justice struggles of our time. They will discuss the surprisingly complex relationship between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter as it unfolded on social media, and in interpersonal and community relationships. 
The authors will share insights into calls for reform in Memphis and the nation that follow from #BlackLivesMatter activism, including protests following the Murder of George Floyd.
The Hooks Institute will highlight its efforts within the University of Memphis and the greater community to create and support reform for the removal of race, economic, health and other disparities. 
Questions and Answer period to follow the presentations.

2020 Luncheon 

Dear Hooks Supporters,

In view of the public health issues presented by the Coronavirus outbreak, the Hooks Institue has cancelled it's 2020 Join Hands For Change Luncheon. We are grateful to each of you for your support and know that you understand that this unprecedented public health crisis requires that our annual event be rescheduled. If you have questions please contact the Hooks Institute at bhi@memphis.edu or (901) 678-3974.

Thank you again for your support. Please be careful and safe.

February – April 2020

Civil Rights Stories to Inspire ChangeCivil Rights: Stories to Inspire Change

Led by University of Memphis students, the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change is releasing a short video series focused on civil rights history. The video series, Civil Rights: Stories to Inspire Change, will release weekly on the Hooks Institute’s YouTube page and run for seven consecutive weeks. Each week, a UofM student will share a story of people who worked to create a more just society, proving that it is possible for ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Subjects to be featured and the UofM undergraduates who will lead the videos include:

  • Tom Lee, March 10  – Jeremiah Jones, Journalism, senior
  • 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike, March 17  – Thomas McDaniel, History, senior
  • Orange Mound, March 24 – Carl Bledsoe Jr., African and African American Studies, sophomore
  • WDIA, March 31 – Amanda Campbell, African and African American Studies, senior
  • First Beale Street Baptist Church, April 7 – Jazmyne Wright, Political Science/African and African American Studies, freshman
  • Mason Temple, April 14 – Anna Weiner, History and Psychology, sophomore
  •  Burkle Estate, April 21 – Makayla Bommer, Biology, freshman

The series is produced by Nathaniel C. Ball, Hooks media and programs coordinator, and Rebekkah Mulholland, Hooks graduate assistant, with executive producer Daphene R. McFerren, executive director of the Hooks Institute.

University of Memphis students who are interested in participating in future videos are encouraged to contact Ball at ncball@memphis.edu.

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March 5

Stax Music Academy Kids at Colosseum in Rome.Stax Music Academy: From Soulsville to Italy

Reception 5:30 PM | Viewing of Film 6 PM
Thursday, March 5, 2020 | University Center, Bluff Room (304), University of Memphis, 499 University St., Memphis, TN 38152

Join the Hooks Institute and WKNO-TV Memphis for a screening of Stax Music Academy: From Soulsville to Italy with panelist, Hooks Institute executive director Daphene McFerren. This film follows talented young musicians from Memphis as they perform to audiences in Italy the songs of Soul Legends Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave and Aretha Franklin. A question and answer period with members of Stax Academy about the school’s mission and the trip will follow the viewing.

This event is free and open to the public. Convenient parking is located at the public parking garage on Zach Curlin.

Feb. 3 – Mar. 3, 2020

“Uplift the Vote: Everyone Should Have a Voting Story” Exhibit

M–F, 2–4 p.m. | Sat. Feb. 15 and 29, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Fayette County Public Schools, Central Administration Building,10425 Hwy 76 S. Somerville, TN 38068

Tent City Marchers

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis and Fayette County Public Schools hosted the experience “Uplift the Vote: Everyone Should Have a Voting Story,” an exhibit on the importance of our most basic civil right – the right to vote. The exhibit showed through photographs, documents and reflections, how African Americans’ demand for the right to vote in Fayette County, Tenn., in 1959 helped to create a more just and inclusive nation.

Wreath Laying Ceremony

To commemorate the Fayette County activists, Leadership Fayette placed  a wreath on the south side of the Fayette County Courthouse, 16755 Hwy. 64 in Somerville, Jan. 23 at noon. The public was invited.

Guest Speakers

Daphene McFerren, Hooks Institute executive director, was the guest speaker at noon on Feb. 15 and Feb. 29. On Feb. 15, a reception for the public followed her talk.


The exhibit’s sponsors included Leadership Fayette, the Somerville Police Department, The Bank, Fayette County Public Schools, AARP, Print Solutions and the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change.

Photograph, © Art Shay, John and Viola McFerren leading protectors to the Fayette County, Tennessee Courthouse, March, 1965.