Lecture Series

About the Hooks Institute Lecture Series


Throughout the year, the Hooks Institute frequently hosts or cosponsors events with other interdisciplinary centers at the University of Memphis (UofM), where prominent scholars, political figures, and social activists from across the nation lecture in their area of expertise. Additionally, visiting guests are encouraged to meet with small groups of students and faculty for in-depth discussions on historical and current issues of social justice.

Women of the Sanitation Workers strike speak to a crowd at the University of Memphis

For UofM students, most of whom were born a decade or more after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the lectures reveal issues that affect their daily lives but are too often treated as artifacts of a distant past. For community members, the lecture series offers continuing education and affirms a commitment to building a strong, racially and socially just community, nation, and world.

All of our events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. For a complete list of all of our events, please visit the Hooks Institute event page.

Annual Lecture Series

Hooks National Book Award Lecture
The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change's National Book Award is presented annually to a non-fiction book that best furthers understanding of the American Civil Rights Movement and its legacy. Eahc year, the winner of the award receives an invitation to deliver an address at the University of Memphis as part of the Hooks Institute Lecture Series.

See Past Book Award Recipients >


Hooks Institute Open House and Presentation of Hooks Institute Policy Papers
The Hooks Institute Policy Papers use national conversations about critical civil and human rights issues as a starting point to discuss and propose solutions to, contemporary issues of race, class, public policy, and social justice.  Each year, the authors of the Hooks Policy Papers present their papers at the Hooks Annual Open House. 

See Past Policy Papers

Selected Past Lectures

Civil Rights and Social Unrest Through the Lens of Art Shay
Dr. Erik Gellman, professor, UNC-Chapel Hill
October 1, 2019

The Wives of the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike
Wives of the Sanitation Workers Strike: Jimmie Leech, Florence Ueal and Helen Turner. Moderator: Emily Yellin, Journalist and Striking Voices Founder and Producer
March 21, 2019

Economic Challenges Facing Black Men and Boys: Beyond the Data to Lived Experience
William R. Emmons, PhD, Economist, Center for Household Financial Stability, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
February 19, 2019

Slavery by Another Name
Lecture by Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Douglas Blackmon on his book, Slavery By Another Name.
November 19, 2015

Reflections on Living in Service to Others: Dr. Benjamin Hooks and the Heirs of His Legacy
Rodney Slater, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation
February 9, 2012

Higher Education: Meeting the Needs of the 21st Century
Richard D. Legon, President
American Association of Governing Boards
of Universities and Colleges
April 8, 2010

Economic Mobility and the Power of Post-Secondary Education
John Morton, Managing Director
The Pew Charitable Trusts
April 9, 2010

Raggedy Schools: Education's Untold Truth
Steve Perry
Capital Preparatory Magnet School (Hartford, CT)
April 9, 2010

Civil Rights and Social Justice: Past, Present, and the Future
Benjamin L. Hooks
Capitol Hill (Washington, DC)
Oct. 6. 2009, and
University of Memphis
November 4, 2009

Through the Fire! Through The Flood!
Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. (Chicago, IL)
April 3, 2009

Forgetting the Righteous: The Fayette County Movement in History and Memory
Charles Payne, Ph. D. (Duke University)
October 28, 2006

Repairing the Past: Racial Violence after World War I and the Politics and Reconciliation
Chris Capozzola, Ph. D.
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
October 20, 2006

Worker Justice in a Global Society: Revisiting Martin Luther King's Unfinished Agenda
Michael Honey, Ph D. (University of Michigan)
April 3, 2006

After Race: Racism after Multiculturalism
Antonia Darder, Ph. D. (University of Illinois)
April 1, 2005

African Americans and the Social Contract
Bill E. Lawson, Ph. D. (Michigan State University)
September 16, 2004

Civil Rights in the Era of Social Wrongs
Patricia Williams, J. D.
(Columbia University Law School)
October 12, 2004

Fifty Years After Brown
Lee C. Bollinger, J. D. (President, Columbia University)
February 12, 2004

View Our Upcoming Events >