2020 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.

Upcoming Events

Feb. 3 – Mar. 6, 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 will host 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 shows 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 will place a wreath on the south side of the Fayette County Courthouse, 16755 Hwy. 64 in Somerville, Jan. 23 at noon. The public is invited.

Guest Speakers

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


The exhibit’s sponsors include 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.

February – April 2020

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

Stay tuned to our weekly YouTube video series, Civil Rights: Stories to Inspire Change.

From Memphis hero Tom Lee to Memphis African American Radio Station, WDIA, everyone can make a difference! True stories of people who created a more just society prove that it is possible for ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Beginning in  February every Tues. for 6 weeks,  a new, true story of resilience and courage in the struggle for civil rights will be released on the Hooks Institute’s YouTube page. Please make sure to subscribe.

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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.


April 23

Hooks Join Hands for Change Luncheon 
Guest Speaker Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights

11:30 a.m. – 1 pm, April 23 | University of Memphis Holiday Inn

Kristen ClarkLawyers' Committee for Civil Rights is one of the premiere legal organizations in the United States on the forefront of protecting and advancing civil rights. Under Ms. Clarke’s leadership, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights has been on the cutting edge of promoting fair housing and community development, economic justice, voting rights, equal educational opportunity, criminal justice, judicial diversity and more. Ms. Clarke is s a frequent and highly respected commentator on the national news on these issues.

Proceeds from the Hooks Join Hands for Change Luncheon help fund the Hooks Institute's research and community engagement programs that seek to ameliorate disparities, media and historical projects focused on the civil rights movement and its legacy, the Hooks Institute Lecture Series and the Hooks African American Male Initiative (HAAMI), which focuses on increasing the retention and graduation rates of African American males attending the University of Memphis. Please contact the Hooks Institute at (901) 678-3974 for sponsorship information.

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