2017 Events

About Hooks Events

Protecting and promoting civil rights and social justice requires vigilance by each of us. The Hooks Institute hopes you will stay engaged with and connected to efforts to promote a just, fair and democratic society. We encourage you to join us at our public events.

Hooks Institute Events | September 2017 - March 2018

Click here to view upcoming and past Hooks African American Male Initiative events.

Past Events

October 2017

October 19, 2017

We Are An African PeopleHooks National Book Award Lecture | Russell Rickford

Thurs., Oct. 19, 2017 | Reception 11:30 am | Lecture & Book Signing Noon
University Center (300) River Room | University of Memphis

Selected by the Hooks Institute's National Book Award Committee as the book published in 2016 that best furthers the legacy of the American Civil Rights Movement, Russell Rickford's We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination examines the motivation behind independent black schools that emerged in the 1970s as an alternative mechanism for African American uplift.

The event is co-sponsored by the UofM African & African American Studies Program, the UofM College of Education, the UofM History Department and the UofM Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities.

Free and Open to the public. Convenient and affordable parking is available in the public garage on Zach Curlin Street.

October 18-20, 2017

2017 GAAAH Conference

18th Annual Graduate Association for African American History for African American History Conference

October 18-20, 2017 | The University of Memphis

Keynote Speaker: Paula J. Giddings

African and African American Studies Program Department of History Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities Memphis Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


October 2017

October 5, 2017

No Muslim Ban2017 Hooks Institute Open House & Release of the Hooks Policy Papers

Thurs., Oct. 5, 2017 | Reception 5:30 pm | Panel Discussion 6 pm
University Center (304) Bluff Room | University of Memphis

Join us for the release of the Hooks Institute Policy Papers (3rd edition). Authors of the Policy Papers will present their research on critical civil rights issues of today including the Trump Administration's roll back on LGBT rights, the impact of immigration on a small Arkansas town, the influence of Muslims and Islam on the nation's fabric, and what we can learn from welfare in Native American communities.

Free and Open to the public. Convenient and affordable parking is available in the public garage on Zach Curlin Street.

October 3, 2017

free speech critical conversation university of memphisDrawing the Protest Line:
Freedom of Assembly, Speech, and Expression

Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm | UC River Room (300)

What is free speech and why do we value it? What is the distinction between free speech and hate speech? How can students voice dissent without threatening the university's culture of inclusivity? What are guidelines for protest at public institutions?

Join us for a panel discussion on peaceful protest in university settings. Students from representative organizations will pose questions to a number of faculty and legal experts to facilitate a dialogue about the applications and limits of free speech. Topics include: "Unite the Right" Riot in Charlottesville, Virginia; NFL "Take a Knee" Protest of Police Brutality; Free Speech/Hate Speech on Campus; Peaceful Protest

free speech university of memphis critical conversationsFaculty/Legal Panelists: Otis Sanford, Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism, Melanie Murry, J.D., University Counsel, Latosha Dexter, J.D., Deputy University Counsel, John Michael Ryall, J.D., Assistant University Counsel, Daphene McFerren, J.D., Executive Director, Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Justice, Justin Lawhead, Ed.D., Dean of Students, and other active scholars and attorneys

Student Panelists: Kevyanna Rawls, Vice President of The Student Government Association and Leaders of other Student Organizations.

September 2017

September 28, 2017

Friends of the Hooks Institute Reception | Thurs., Sept. 28, 2017 | 6 pm–8 pm

This is a donor appreciation event for community members and sponsors who have helped to fund Institute programs. Stay tuned for more information.

September 21, 2017

UofM Faculty Reception | Thurs., Sept. 21, 2017 | 1 pm–3 pm
Hooks Institute | Scates Hall, Rm 204 | University of Memphis

UofM faculty are invited to a reception at the Hooks Institute to explore opportunities for partnerships and collaborations that advance social justice and civil rights on campus and in the community. This event is open to all UofM faculty.


September 8, 2017

DACA: Its Impact on University Communities

September 8, 2017 | Noon – 1:30 pm | Zone of the FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT)

On September 8, 2017, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Zone of the FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT), the Critical Conversations Committee will host the first in a series of sessions to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and its impact on University communities.

 The featured speaker is Tatine Darker, Esq., an immigration specialist.  University administrators, scholars, and Legal Counsel will also be on hand to facilitate the discussion and to address students’ questions in particular. We encourage all students, faculty and staff to attend.

July 2017

July 24, 2017

Presentation TN History for Kids in Service for Tennessee Teachers.

Errol Rivers, Hooks Graduate Assistant, presented the history of the Fayette County, TN Civil Rights Movement at the TN History for Kids in service for TN Teachers. The Hooks Institute is spreading the word on how this movement is relevant today and how the civil rights movement in the Mid-South created greater equality throughout the nation.

June 2017

June 15-June 18

tri-state black pride1st Annual TriState Black Pride Festival

The Hooks Institute was proud to co-sponsor the 1st Annual TriState Black Pride Festival in Memphis, TN (June 15 - 18, 2017) at the National Civil Rights Museum. This LGBTQIA event brought awareness, with the intent of providing some proposed solutions, to health, employment and social challenges facing the black LGBTIA community.

For more information on Tri-State Black Pride, please visit tristateblackpride.com.

May 2017

May 18

Senior Signing Day: Freedom Preparatory Academy
May 18, 2017 | University Center Ballroom, University of Memphis

Freedom Prep: Senior Signing Day

Congrats to Graduating Seniors of Freedom Prep Academy! The Hooks Institute was honored to host Freedom Prep Academy's first Senior Signing Day at the University of Memphis. Impressively, every senior of the school has been accepted into college! Several will join us at the University of Memphis! The event was sponsored in part by the Hooks Institute.

APRIL 2017

April 20

2017 Hooks Annual Join Hands For Change Gala
Pursuing the Dream to Reality


Honored Guest & Keynote Speaker
Ambassador Andrew J. Young

Thursday, April 20, 2017 | 7 PM
Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis!


In celebration of Hooks Institute's 20th anniversary, the 2017 Join Hands for Change Gala will be an exciting evening to celebrate the Institute's work over the last two decades. The event will be held on the evening of Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 7pm at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn. We are excited that this year's honoree and featured keynote will be Ambassador Andrew J. Young, civil rights pioneer, politician, diplomat and two-time mayor of Atlanta.

April 19

Symposium on Creating Greater Outcomes for

African American Male Achievement

April 19, 2017 | 9 am - 4:30 pm
UC Bluff Room 304 | University of Memphis

April 19

Official Launch of  the Benjamin L. Hooks Papers website

Hooks Pulpit

Launch of the Benjamin L. Hooks Papers Website
April 19, 2017 | Reception 5:30 pm | Presentation 6 pm
University Center (304) Bluff Room
The University of Memphis | 499 University St | Memphis, TN 38152

From his tenure as the first African American appointed to the Federal Communications Commission, to the leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Benjamin L. Hooks career took him from the segregated streets of Memphis, TN to the height of American public and civic life. Now, for the first time, portions of Hooks vivid career will be made widely available to the public through the Benjamin L. Hooks Papers Digitization Website. The digitization project is a collaboration between the Hooks Institute and the University of Memphis Libraries.

April 6 - 8

National Conference on Undergraduate Research


Keynote Speaker: Daphene R. McFerren, Executive Director Hooks Institute

The National Conference on Undergraduate Research
The National Conference on Undergraduate Research, established in 1987, is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity in all fields of study by sponsoring an annual conference for students. Through this annual conference, NCUR creates a unique environment for the celebration and promotion of undergraduate student achievement, provides models of exemplary research and scholarship, and helps to improve the state of undergraduate education.

MARCH 2017

March 9–12

lsp people125 Anniversary of the People's Grocery Lynching Memorial Service

In March of 1892, in a mixed race neighborhood called the Curve, near Mississippi Blvd and Walker Avenue, a white grocer named William Barrett found his business shrinking because of the success of grocery nearby run by three black men, Will Stewart, Tommie Moss, and Calvin McDowell. Rumors and trumped up charges sent a large group of armed white men into the store. Gunshots were traded and several white men were injured. The three black grocers, all family men, were arrested and jailed. Three days later the downtown jail was stormed and Stewart, Moss, and McDowell were dragged out and taken to the nearby Chesapeake and Ohio rail yards.

The three men fought back, but eventually, McDowell was shot point blank by a shotgun. Will Stewart resisted until he was shot in the neck. Tommie Moss was asked if he had any final words. He said "Tell my people to go west. There is no justice for them here." He was shot and left with the others under a pile of brush.  For more information on the 125 anniversary of the People's Grocery Lynching, click here

February 2017

February 23

Kendi Poster

Ibram X. Kendi Book Talk and Discussion 

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Thursday, February 23, 2017 | 5:30 pm Reception | 6:00 pm Lecture
University Center Auditorium, The University of Memphis
Free and Open to the Public

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Presented by the Department of History in conjunction with the program in African and African American Studies, the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities, the Graduate Association for African-American History, and the Departments of Anthropology, Communication, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology.

February 22

Daphene R. McFerren Hilton WorldwideHilton Worldwide African American History Event | Hilton Worldwide, Memphis, TN

Daphene R. McFerren speaks about her families role in the Fayette County Civil RIghts movement and the importance of learning and sharing your families history as an honored guest at Hilton Worldwide's African American History event, Feb. 22, 2017.


February 14 - 20

Duty of the Hour WKNO-TV Broadcast Times and Dates

7 pm | Tuesday, February 14, 2017 | WKNO-HD
12 am |Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | WKNO-HD
7 pm | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | WKNO2
7 pm | Monday, February 20, 2017 | WKNO-HD

February 9 - 24

Duty of the Hour Community Screenings
BTW Duty of the Hour

White Station High School - February 9, 2017 at 9 am | Closed to the public
Booker T Washington – February 14, 2017 | Closed to the public
LeMoyne-Owen College – February 22, 2017 | Closed to the public
Melrose High School – February 24, 2017  | Closed to the public

February 10 - 14

Duty of the Hour KCET- Los Angeles | Broadcast Times and Dates


12 pm | Friday, February 10, 2017 | KCET
3 am | Tuesday, February 14, 2017 | KCET
For more information please visit https://www.kcet.org/shows/link-voices/episodes/duty-of-the-hour

February 2

Critical Conversations | The Impact of the Executive Order on Immigration
February 8, 2017, 11:00 am | University Center (350) Fountain Room | University of Memphis