Hooks Institute Selects Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power as Winner of the 2019 Hooks Institute National Book Award

July 21, 2020 - The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis has selected Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power (University of North Carolina Press) by Dr. Simon Balto as the winner of its 2019 Hooks National Book Award. In his book, Balto chronicles how, since the great migration of African Americans to northern cities such as Chicago, policing served as a brutal form of racial discipline. Despite the protests of Black Chicagoans, those practices continued over the course of the 20th century.

“Simon Balto’s Occupied Territory is a powerful work of history that speaks directly to our current crisis over race and policing,” said Hooks Book Award committee chair Aram Goudsouzian, professor of History at the UofM. “His research is meticulous, his writing is engaging, and his conclusions are both provocative and convincing. Although focused on one city, Occupied Territory informs a national conversation about the racist foundations of the criminal justice system.”

“I’m so delighted and humbled to win this reward, especially given the remarkable pool of finalists that my book was part of,” says Balto. “It’s an honor just to have been in company with these other scholars, let alone to have been selected as the Hooks Prize winner from amongst them. I hope my book helps people make some sense of both our present and past, and that I can contribute in at least some small way to how we navigate the future.”

About the Hooks 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. A panel of judges representing various disciplines and academic institutions in Memphis awards the annual honor. The winner was chosen from a group of 30 nominations covering a diverse field of subjects related to the civil rights movement and its legacy.

The other finalists for the award were Biased: Uncovering The Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think and Do by Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt; The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr. and the Debate over Race in America by Dr. Nicholas Buccola; Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White by Dr. William Sturkey; and Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

The Hooks Institute extends its gratitude to the 2019 Hooks National Book Award committee. In addition to Goudsouzian, it includes Beverly Cross, Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence in Urban Education at the UofM; Charles McKinney, associate professor of History at Rhodes College; Ladrica Menson-Furr, UofM associate professor of English and director of African and African American Studies; Sharon Stanley, UofM professor of Political Science; and Terrence Tucker, UofM associate professor of English and coordinator of African American Literature.

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