Hooks Institute to Sponsor Lecture by National Book Award Winner Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell at National Civil Rights Museum

October 30, 2019 - The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis will sponsor a lecture by Hooks National Book Award-winning author Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell on Nov. 7. The free public event will be held in Hooks-Hyde Hall at the National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry St., beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. and followed by the lecture at 7 p.m.

About Hooks National Book Award Winner An American: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden

An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden provides a telling biography of the artist Romare Bearden, whose iconic collages conveyed the richness and complexity of African American life in the civil rights era. As Campbell demonstrates, Bearden’s work transcended the visual stereotypes of African Americans. He situated his characters in a deep past, while employing a modernist style that was re-envisioning the black experience. 

 “The book is deeply researched, beautifully written and crisply paced,” said Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, Hooks Institute National Book Award chair and professor of history. “Art presents a unique lens upon the struggle for black freedom. An American Odyssey situates Bearden’s art within his personal history, transformations in art and technology, and the larger context of black politics in the 20th century. It is, without any doubt, a most worthy winner of the 2018 Hooks National Book Award.”

“It is an honor to receive an award named for the transformative civil rights leader, Benjamin Hooks,” said Campbell, who is president of Spelman College. “I am honored as well to join the distinguished lineage of past awardees and to have been among the outstanding finalists for this recognition.”

The event is hosted by the National Civil Rights Museum which is currently featuring the exhibit Romare Bearden: Vision and Activism. The exhibit will be open to event guests during the reception.

Hooks National Book Award Committee
The Hooks Institute extends its gratitude to the 2018 Hooks National Book Award committee. In addition to Goudsouzian, it included Dr. Beverly Cross, Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence in Urban Education at the UofM; Daniel Kiel, associate professor at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law; Dr. Ladrica Menson-Furr, UofM associate professor of English and director of African and African American Studies; and Dr. Terrence Tucker, UofM associate professor of English and coordinator of African American Literature.

University of Memphis Sponsors

The presenting sponsor is the African and African American Studies Program. Supporting sponsors are the Department of Art, Department of Anthropology, Department of History and Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.

About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute National Book Award
The Hooks Institute's National Book Award is presented to a nonfiction book, published in the calendar year, that best furthers understanding of the American Civil Rights Movement and its legacy.

 For more information, visit https://www.memphis.edu/benhooks/programs/book-award.php

About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change
The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute implements its mission of teaching, studying and promoting civil rights and social change through research, education and direct intervention programs. Institute programs include community outreach; funding faculty research initiatives on community issues; implementing community service projects; hosting conferences, symposiums and lectures; and promoting local and national scholarship on civil and human rights. The Hooks Institute is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Memphis. Contributed revenue for the Hooks Institute, including funding from individuals, corporations and foundations, is administered through the University of Memphis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.


Nathaniel Ball | ncball@memphis.edu | 901.678.3655