2024 Events

Upcoming Events

April 11

Brown v. Board of Education: 70 Years Later, Where Does Memphis and the Nation Go Next?

University of Memphis
University Center
Thursday, April 11, 2024 | 10 am

Over 70 years ago, passionate advocates rallied against the historic systems of racial exclusion and segregation that have stained the national experience since the founding. One target of this effort was the system of segregation in public schools. Through efforts of community-building, public advocacy, and strategic litigation, these efforts culminated in the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The victory in Brown vindicated several principles that had long animated efforts for racial justice: the social principle that the nation is held back when laws prohibit contact and relationships across racial lines; the educational principle that all young people deserve an equal opportunity to education; the legal principle that equal protection prohibits racial discrimination. While the Brown decision represented an important marker, one of its legal architects, Thurgood Marshall, recognized that hard work lay ahead.

In 2024, the principles embedded in the Brown story are no less urgent, though they are being applied in a world much changed since 1954. This symposium will explore the question of how the principles that animated the Brown campaign and litigation, principles of non-discrimination, educational equality, and racial justice, can inform the advocates of today. Assessing both areas of inspiring progress and frustrating stagnation since Brown, participants will consider how 21st-century advocates can utilize to reclaim and reenergize the principles of Brown. What barriers are there to racial and educational justice? What ought to be the goals today and what tools can advocates employ to effectively pursue them? Community leaders, national experts, and passionate young people will gather to consider Brown at 70: Where do we go from here?

The conference will feature a plenary from The Hon. Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, and a keynote address from Tona Boyd, Associate Director-Counsel of the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP.  This conference is designed to appeal to the legal and education community as well as policymakers and students. 

Click HERE to Register

Children of various ages climb the steps of the US Supreme Court

Past Events

February 27

Hooks National Book Award Presentation and Guest Lecture 

A poster depicting the cover of the book "Black Patience" and its author, Dr. Julius B. Fleming, Jr.

Hattiloo Theatre
37 S Cooper Street, Memphis, TN 38104 
Thursday, February 27, 2024 | 6 pm
The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis will celebrate the 2022 Hooks National Book Award winner, Dr. Julius B. Fleming Jr. and his book “Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation” at a ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 27. The event will include a presentation of the award as well as a lecture by Fleming.
Hattiloo Theatre is the Presenting Sponsor for the event. It is Co-Sponsored by Carla and Holmes Peacher-Ryan. The following University of Memphis entities are Partnering Co-Sponsors: African and African American Studies Program, the Department of English, the Department of History, the Department of Theatre & Dance and the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.
This event is free and open to the public.