The law school and the National Civil Rights Museum were proud to present this historic event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis. Throughout the day, four incredibly engaging and enlightening panels examined key areas of importance related to Dr. King's legacy and work. Additionally, our keynote speaker, former United States Attorney General, the Hon. Eric H. Holder, Jr., spoke at our keynote luncheon, with a special introduction by United States Senator Doug Jones (Alabama). 

If you were not able to attend the proceedings on this historic and informative day, or if you would like to view the panels themselves again to learn more about the subjects addressed by our esteemed panelists, please use the links below to the various portions of the day.

livestream 1

MLK50  - Welcome Remarks & Panel 1: Criminal Justice

This panel addressed policing in communities of color and contemporary penal policy, while grappling with the complex question of what policing and punishment should look like going forward.

Panelists included:

  • Roy Austin – Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP; former Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice & Opportunity.
  • Toussaint Losier – Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts – Amherst College of Humanities & Fine Arts, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro- American Studies.
  • Tracey Maclin – Professor of Law & Joseph Lipsitt Faculty Research Scholar, Boston University School of Law.
  • Mark Osler – Professor and Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law.

The panel was moderated by University of Memphis School of Law Professor Demetria Frank.

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MLK50 - Panel 2: Voting Rights

This panel addressed current voting rights challenges and strategies for reform, whether through litigation, legislation or mobilization.

Panelists included:

  • Debo Adegbile – Partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP; Past Senior Counsel to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and Director of Litigation and Acting President for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Richard Hasen – Chancellor's Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California – Irvine School of Law.
  • Sherrilyn Ifill – President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Pamala Karlan – Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law, Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford Law School.

The panel was moderated by University of Memphis School of Law Professor Steve Mulroy.

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MLK50 - Keynote Luncheon

Our symposium's keynote luncheon featured remarks United States Senator Doug Jones (Alabama) and our keynote speaker, the Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States (2009-2015); Partner, Covington & Burling LLP. 

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MLK50 - Panel 3: Confronting Persistent Poverty

This panel examined some of the contemporary areas where poverty impacts life chances for individuals.

Panelists included:

  • Dorothy Brown – Professor of Law, Emory Law School.
  • Dayna Matthew – William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law; F. Palmer Weber Research Professor of Civil Liberties and Human Rights, University of Virginia School of Law.
  • Tomiko Brown-Nagin – Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law; Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice; Co-Director, Program in Law and History, Harvard Law School; Professor of History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University.
  • Dorothy Roberts – George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

The panel was moderated by Professor Amy Campbell, Director of the University of Memphis School of Law Institute for Health Law & Policy. 

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MLK50 - Panel 4: 21st Century Activism

This panel examined the shifts in the legal landscape, modern technology, and the understanding of more subtle manifestations of discrimination impact, advocacy and activism.

Panelists included:

  • Cornell Brooks – Former President of the NAACP, 2014-2017.
  • Charles McKinney – Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies; Associate Professor of History, Rhodes College.
  • Claude Steele – Professor of Psychology, Stanford University.
  • Beverly Tatum – President Emerita, Spelman College.

The panel was moderated by University of Memphis School of Law Professor Daniel Kiel.