At the heart of Memphis lies Overton Park, a 342-acre public space that contains the Memphis Zoo, an old-growth forest, a famed amphitheater, and the Brooks Museum of Art.

Founded in 1901, the park has been at the center of both celebration and controversy. A site for public performances and playgrounds, everyone from Elvis Presley to local children have visited there. During the Civil Rights era, desegregating the park became a major goal of local activists, and the park’s Greensward was the scene of protests against the Vietnam War.

Late in the 1960s and throughout the 1970s, when the proposed route of Interstate 40 threatened the park, concerned citizens banded together to fight the plan and conserve this space. Brooks Lamb’s book Overton Park: A People’s History offers a history of the park from the perspective of those who lived it. Mr. Lamb will discuss several of the interviews he conducted while writing his book and share historic photos and maps of Overton Park. He will also explain why folks who cared for the park in the past can serve as exemplars of stewardship in the present and future.

Brooks Lamb grew up on a small farm in the community of Holt’s Corner, Tennessee. A 2016 Truman Scholar and a 2017 graduate of Rhodes College, Brooks is currently pursuing his master’s degree at Yale School of the Environment. Before beginning his graduate studies, he worked with The Land Trust for Tennessee, helping farmers and other landowners permanently protect their land from development. You can learn more about Brooks at his website:


October 14, 2020


5:30 pm CT

6:30 pm ET