Remembering George Riley at MLK50

The Remembering George Riley at MLK50 fund supports Memphis institutions dedicated to George’s passion—the arts—and his life’s work: the causes of justice and civil rights.

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

  • Black Resistance: Ernest C. Withers and the Civil Rights Movement 
    February 3- August 19

    Exhibit features the work of the Civil Rights era’s preeminent photo documentarian who photographed Black resistance in Memphis—from pickets and sit-ins to court room scenes—and the tumultuous events from March 27 to April 8, 1968. 
  • Seeing Civil Rights Symposium and Reception, March 28 and 29 
    Featuring Keynote Speakers Dr. Deborah Willis and Teju Cole
    Explore how Withers and his contemporaries saw photography as both art form and tool for political change. Co-presented with the University of Memphis’ Department of English, this event brings scholars, writers and artists together to address how photographs shaped the immediate reception of the civil rights movement and continue to impact how we remember it. 

UofM Department of English

  • Seeing Civil Rights Symposium at Brooks Museum, March 28-29
    See Brooks listing above. For symposium times, panel discussion titles and speakers, and to register for the event, please click here.

  • “The Public Humanities in the 21st Century” Symposium Endowment

Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at UofM

  • “Where Do We Go from Here?” Symposium, Day 1: April 2
    Presented with the National Civil Rights Museum to explore the legal aspects of social justice. Both the panel discussions and a noon luncheon featuring Eric Holder will be held at the Peabody Hotel.

  • Symposium Endowment to hold a social justice symposium annually.

  • Chair Endowment to create a Visiting Chair on Civil Rights and Social Justice position named in honor of George Riley.

National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM)

  • "Where Do We Go from Here?" Symposium, Day 2: April 3
    Presented with Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Panel discussions will be held at the Rose Theatre, University of Memphis. The noon luncheon keynote with Taylor Branch will be at the Holiday Inn, University of Memphis. For complete program information and to register, click here.

  • 50th Anniversary Commemoration of MLK’s Assassination, April 4: Daylong activities, speakers, and entertainment will take place at the museum courtyard. An Evening of Storytelling will be held at the Crosstown Concourse. For tickets, times, and additional program information, click here.

PRIZM Ensemble

PRIZM Ensemble provides chamber music education and performance opportunities for youth in underserved communities.

Clayborn Temple

"Ground Zero" of the 1960s Civil Rights movement, Clayborn Temple remains one of the most historically significant sites in Memphis and seeks funds for building and pipe organ restoration. Clayborn will host the Indie Memphis’ screening of The Quiet One with narration by James Agee on March 26 and the PRIZM Ensemble’s Concert for the Next Fifty Years, along with several other MLK50 events.

Indie Memphis

One of the city’s core arts institutions, Indie Memphis will focus on civil rights and social justice by featuring documentary films including MLK50 Hometowner Shorts, Dolores, The Quiet One, Let Freedom Sing, and 1300 Men: Memphis Strike ’68. For screening dates and locations, please click here.

Your tax-deductible contribution to the Remembering George Riley at MLK50 Fund will help promote social justice and the advancement of the arts in Memphis.

Learn more about George Riley and his commitment to social justice here. This fund was created by George's brother and sister-in-law, John and Maryellen Riley. As advisors to the fund, they make final recommendations for grants based on the criteria above.