Announcing the 2020 Hooks National Book Award Finalists

Book Award SealThe Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis has selected the following finalists for the 2020 Hooks National Book Award:

  • Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. (Crown/Penguin Random House)
  • The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, by Les Payne & Tamara Payne (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, by Marcia Chatelain (Liveright Publishing Corp)
  • Pauli Murray: A Personal and Political Life, by Troy Saxby (University of North Carolina Press)
  • The Sword and the Shield, by Peniel Joseph (Basic Books)

About the Hooks National Book Award
The Hooks Institute’s National Book Award is presented to a non-fiction book published in the calendar year that best furthers understanding of the American civil rights movement and its legacy.

Finalists were chosen from 28 books that were nominated for the 2020 award. The award winner will be chosen this summer by a panel of judges representing various disciplines and academic institutions in Memphis. The book award winner will speak at an event hosted by the Hooks Institute.

“The nominees for the Hooks Institute book award once again represented the vast array of approaches to understanding the civil rights movement and the continuing struggle for racial justice,” said Aram Goudsouzian, Bizot Family Professor of History at the University of Memphis and Hooks Book Award Committee Chair.

“The books included academic histories, sociological analyses, personal memoirs and journalistic investigations. The five finalists, however, stood out from the pack. They all offered trenchant commentary on the nation’s struggle for racial justice, furthering our scholarly understanding of American democracy. Just as important, they were all written with fluid, engaging prose that can reach a wide audience. In an era when we are all grappling with enduring legacies of racism, these books are more important than ever.”

Hooks National Book Award Committee
The Hooks Institute extends its gratitude to the 2020 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. For more information, visit