The room was packed. The speaker – former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. – commanded attention with his presence.

No stranger to Memphis, Holder was the keynoter for a luncheon Monday at the Peabody Hotel. His address was part of a symposium that spotlighted activism, criminal justice, poverty and voting rights.

The National Civil Rights Museum and the University of Memphis collaborated to bring about the symposium, which was held as events continue to unfold this week in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.