UofM's Hooks Institute Selects Stokely: A Life as 2014 National Book Award Winner

October 1, 2015 - The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis has selected Stokely: A Life by Peniel E. Joseph as the winner of its National Book Award for 2014. Honorable mention goes to A World More Concrete: Real Estate and The Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida by N.D. B. Connolly. The award recognizes publications that best advance an understanding of the American civil rights movement and its legacy.

Joseph's carefully researched and beautifully written biography of Stokely Carmichael captures his contributions to the civil rights movement. This book places Carmichael, a political strategist, civil rights activist and intellectual and community organizer who became a Black Panther, alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X as part of a revolutionary triumvirate who dominated the world stage of the 1960s.

Carmichael (Kwame Ture) was the only one of the three who lived to see the age of 40. He was a child of Caribbean immigrants, educated at one of the best public high schools in New York and Howard University, and mentored by King and Fannie Lou Hamer. He marched with King, campaigning for voting rights, and then founded the first Black Panther Party in Mississippi. Acknowledging that Carmichael's life and legacy have faded in collective memory, Joseph describes his biography as an act of recovery of an under-told story that enriches the understanding of the civil rights movement.

The Hooks Institute received more than 20 nominations for the Book Award, primarily from university presses across the United States. In addition to Stokely (Basic Civitas), the other four finalists were: N.D. B. Connolly, A World More Concrete: Real Estate and The Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida (University of Chicago Press); Jeffrey Helgeson, Crucibles of Black Empowerment: Chicago's Neighborhood Politics From the New Deal to Harold Washington (The University of Chicago Press); Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice (Penn State University Press); and John D. Skrentny, After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace (Princeton University Press).

The five judges were Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, professor and chair of history at the University of Memphis, Dr. Catherine Johnson, librarian at LeMoyne-Owen College, Dr. Charles McKinney, associate professor of history at Rhodes College; Dr. Ladrica Menson-Furr, associate professor of English and director of African and African-American Studies at the UofM; and Dr. Wanda Rushing, professor of sociology at the UofM.

On Feb. 11, 2016, Peniel E. Joseph will speak at the University of Memphis as part of the Hooks Institute Lecture Series. Visit www.memphis.edu/benhooks for updates on this lecture.

For consideration of the 2015 National Book Award, one copy of the book should be submitted, postmarked by Dec. 1, to National Book Award Nomination, Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, 107 Scates Hall, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152-3530.

In 1996, University of Memphis officials received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to create the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change in the College of Arts & Sciences. The mission of the Institute is teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change. The Hooks Institute archives include Hooks' personal papers, which are housed in the Mississippi Valley Collection in the University's McWherter Library.

Contact: Daphene R. McFerren or Wanda Rushing