National Civil Rights Museum and University of Memphis to present two-day MLK50 Symposium on Civil Rights and Economic Equity

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. and MLK author Taylor Branch to deliver keynote luncheon speeches in Memphis as part of 50th anniversary commemoration of King's assassination.

November 27, 2017 - The National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) and the University of Memphis will host a two-day MLK50 Symposium that will convene scholars, historians and thought leaders from across the country to present on the state of civil and human rights issues and racial and economic equity 50 years after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Symposium will take place April 2-3, 2018, and will culminate with a commemorative ceremony on April 4, 2018, of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination at the historic Lorraine Motel.

The theme for the MLK50 Symposium is based on Dr. King's final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Invited scholars, thought leaders, policy makers and practitioners will share their perspectives and research in a series of panel discussions related to the social justice platforms that Dr. King outlined.

"We intend to initiate thought-provoking dialogue that will address several of the issues that Dr. King felt were yet to be accomplished – economic equity, access to quality education and employment – with justice as a common thread and underlying principle," said Terri Lee Freeman, NCRM president.

"Our intent is to have our panelists help us develop a blueprint for action on these issues that our community and others across the nation can begin to implement."

Day One of the Symposium, to be hosted by the University of Memphis School of Law, will have a legal focus with panel discussions on topics covering criminal justice, voting rights, persistent poverty and 21st century activism. Featured panelists include Mark Osler, Toussaint Losier, Roy Austin, Tracey Maclin, Dayna Matthew, Debo Adegbile, Rick Hasen, Pamela Karlan, Sherrilyn Ifill, Dorothy Brown, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Dorothy Roberts, Claude Steele, Beverly Tatum and Cornell Brooks.

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States (2009-2015), Partner, Covington & Burling LLP, will be the keynote speaker for Day One at a ticketed luncheon at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.

"The University of Memphis is pleased to facilitate a series of critical conversations to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy," said UofM President M. David Rudd. "The two-day MLK50 Symposium will be a tremendous learning experience, bringing together citizens from throughout Memphis and beyond to reflect on the lasting impact of Dr. King's work while exploring meaningful solutions to modern challenges affecting freedom, equality and justice.

"We are especially excited and humbled to announce that the Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. will serve as a featured keynote speaker at the symposium. As the nation's first African American U.S. Attorney General, Mr. Holder is an inspirational figure who will further elevate our discussions on social justice and economic equality."

All panel discussions on the first day of the Symposium will be held at the UofM Law School at 1 North Front Street; the luncheon and keynote speech by Mr. Holder will be at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. The panel discussions at the Law School are free to attend. The keynote luncheon at the Peabody is $75 per person. Registration information for both events can be found at memphis.edu/mlk50/lawsymposium.

"We are thrilled to partner with the National Civil Rights Museum to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," said Peter Letsou, dean of the University of Memphis School of Law.

"We're hopeful that this symposium will inspire the legal community – here in Memphis and around the world – to take action on the persistent injustices that Dr. King spent much of his life working to address."

Day Two of the Symposium will be hosted by the National Civil Rights Museum and will consist of three panel discussions -- Memphis 50 Years Later, Marching Forward; Poverty & Economic Equity: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; and The Promise of Education -- and a ticketed luncheon.

Michele Norris, former host of the National Public Radio evening news program All Things Considered, will moderate the discussions, and panelists will include Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Dr. Michael Honey, Dr. Charles McKinney, James Johnson, Wendi C. Thomas, Dr. John King Jr., Dorian Warren, Dr. Walter Kimbrough, Dr. Randall Robinson, Dorsey Hopson and Karen Harrell. All panel discussions for Day Two of the Symposium will be held at the University of Memphis Rose Theatre.

Taylor Branch, American author and historian best known for his award-winning trilogy of books chronicling the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and much of the history of the American Civil Rights Movement, will be the keynote speaker for the ticketed luncheon to be held at the Holiday Inn hotel located on the University of Memphis campus.

Following the Symposium, the University of Memphis School of Law and National Civil Rights Museum will publish the papers and commentary presented at the symposium in a separate volume that will be available and distributed nationally.

To view complete details about the Symposium and to purchase luncheon tickets, visit http://mlk50.civilrightsmuseum.org/mlk50-where-do-we-go-from-here-symposium.

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About the National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from 1619 to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of guests from around the world have visited, including more than 80,000 students annually. Serving as the new public square, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to chronicle the American civil rights movement, examine today's global civil and human rights issues, provoke thoughtful debate and serve as a catalyst for positive social change.

A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum was recognized as TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.

About Smithsonian Affiliations

Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums and educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The long-term goal of Smithsonian Affiliations is to facilitate a two-way relationship among the Affiliate organizations and the Smithsonian Institution to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. More information about the Smithsonian Affiliations program and Affiliate activity is available at www.affiliations.si.edu.

About the University of Memphis

Founded in 1912, the University of Memphis is nationally-recognized for its academic, research and athletic programs. The UofM educates more than 21,000 students and awards more than 4,000 degrees annually. The UofM is proud to offer the Helen Hardin Honors College is the largest honors college in the state. Additionally, the FedEx Institute of Technology, based at the UofM, is a flagship global research initiative that partnered with the University to secure a record 10 technology patents in 2017. The prestigious Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, which was listed as having the "Best Law School Facilities" in the nation, had a seven percent federal judicial clerkship rate for the Class of 2017, placing it among the top law schools in the United States. The UofM is also pleased to offer Tennessee's only doctoral degree program in music through the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, which will be opening a new 40,000-square-foot music center. The Loewenberg College of Nursing, in its 50th year, was nationally-recognized for diversity. As the largest Graduate School in the Mid-South, the UofM had four graduate programs ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report while the publication ranked two UofM online programs nationally. The University of Memphis has a close academic relationship with a number of Fortune 500 companies, including FedEx, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, AutoZone and International Paper, located in the City of Memphis.

About the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is located in the heart of downtown Memphis, giving its students unparalleled opportunities in major corporate world headquarters, Memphis's robust health care community, and an extensive and diverse legal community, including some of the nation's and region's most prominent law firms. The School of Law's home, in the historic U.S. Custom House, Court House and Post Office, has been recognized as the "Best Law School Facility" in the nation. The mission of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is to provide an affordable, intellectually rigorous, and practice-oriented legal education. The Law School is committed to community engagement and to empowering the diverse members of its community to pursue justice as a moral virtue and a social good. For more information, visit https://www.memphis.edu/law/index.php.

Chuck Gallina, Director, Media & Public Relations, University of Memphis | 901.678.1756 l cgallina@memphis.edu

Faith Morris, Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer, National Civil Rights Museum | 901.527.1226 | fmorris@civilrightsmuseum.org


Cecil C. Humphreys School of LawNational Civil Rights Museum
Smithsonian Affiliate