Hooks Institute to Host National Book Award Presentation

black patience performance, civil rights, and the unfinished project of emancipation

Dr. Julius B. Fleming, Jr., author of ‘Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation’ to receive 2022 Hooks National Book Award

Feb. 12, 2024 — The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis will celebrate the 2022 Hooks National Book Award winner, Dr. Julius B. Fleming Jr. and his book “Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation at a ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 27. The event will include a presentation of the award as well as a lecture by Fleming. This free event will be held at Hattiloo Theatre at 6 p.m.

About Black Patience

Freedom, Now! This rallying cry became the most iconic phrase of the Civil Rights Movement, challenging the persistent command that Black people wait—in the holds of slave ships and on auction blocks, in segregated bus stops and schoolyards—for their long-deferred liberation.

In “Black Patience,” Julius B. Fleming Jr. contends that during the Civil Rights Movement, Black artists and activists used theatre to energize this radical refusal to wait. Participating in a vibrant culture of embodied political performance that ranged from marches and sit-ins to jail-ins and speeches, these artists turned to this type of theatre to unsettle a violent racial project that Fleming refers to as Black patience. Inviting the likes of James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, Douglas Turner Ward, Duke Ellington and Oscar Brown Jr. to the stage, “Black Patience illuminates how Black artists and activists of the Civil Rights era used theatre to expose, critique and repurpose structures of white supremacy.

“Julius Fleming Jr.’s ‘Black Patience’ emerged from a dynamic collection of finalists by combining an engaging narrative of the Civil Rights Movement with stories of African American artists who used theater as a key site in moving the civil rights struggle forward, particularly in its rejection of calls for ‘black patience’ surrounding the end of Jim Crow segregation and voting rights” said Dr. Terrence Tucker, chair and professor in the University of Memphis Department of English and chair of the Hooks National Book Award committee.

"Having spent 22 years of my life living in my native Mississippi, the home of Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, and so many unknown civil rights workers; having spent four years as a student at Tougaloo College, an HBCU hailed as the ‘cradle of the Civil Rights Movement’ in that state; having spent most of my professional life studying and writing about the Civil Rights Movement and its relationship to black theater: I cannot imagine a more meaningful honor than receiving that the Hooks National Books Award,” said Fleming. “Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks was a tower of social and political change and a civil rights giant. And the Hooks Institute stands as a living and breathing testament to the rich history of civil rights struggle that Dr. Hooks faced head-on, while at the same time cultivating the ongoing urgency that must fuel our own commitment to civil rights, right now. What an honor for my book to be in such brave and auspicious company.”

Hattiloo Theatre is the Presenting Sponsor for the event. The following University of Memphis entities are Partnering Co-Sponsors: African and African American Studies Program, the Department of English, the Department of History, the Department of Theatre & Dance and the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.

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Strategic Partnerships Consultant
Benjamin L. Hooks Institute

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. Carla and Holmes Peacher-Ryan are Co-Sponsors of the 2022 Hooks National Book Award.hooks award

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Hooks National Book Award Committee
The Hooks Institute extends its gratitude to the 2022 Hooks National Book Award committee. It includes committee chair Dr. Terrence Tucker, professor and chair of the UofM Department of English, Dr. Beverly Cross, Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence in Urban Education at the UofM; Dr. Charles McKinney, associate professor of History at Rhodes College; Dr. Ladrica Menson-Furr, assistant dean of the UofM College of Arts and Sciences, associate professor of English and director of African and African American Studies; Dr. Ladonna Young, Educational Consultant.

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