The Freedom Summer Memorial on Western Campus (photo by Scott Kissell)
The Freedom Summer Memorial on Western Campus (photo by Scott Kissell)

Western College at Miami declared a Freedom Station

Training of Freedom Summer volunteers held here in 1964

freedom-station-plaque

Freedom Station plaque (photo by Nick Kneer)

Oxford’s former Western College for Women, a significant site for civil rights efforts in the 1960s, has been designated a Freedom Station by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

It was on that campus that nearly 800 volunteers trained to help register African-Americans in the segregated South to vote and learned nonviolent resistance.

The campus is now part of Miami University, and a Freedom Summer Memorial and plaque mark the hillside where much of the training occurred.

Carl Westmoreland, senior historian at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, presented the designation to  Sharry Patterson Addison, president of the Western College Alumnae Association, on Feb. 28.

"Each of the Western College trainees left a positive historical mark that has often served as a model for hundreds of millions of oppressed peoples around the world," said Westmoreland earlier. "A model based on positive, aggressive, non-violent social and political change that is achievable even at the cost of the lives of some of those seeking the change ... I have recommended to the administration at the Freedom Center that Western College Archives become a Freedom Station, and that we become actively engaged in the celebration of Freedom Summer 1964 and the telling of your most important story." 

The Freedom Stations Program is a legacy national outreach program linking historic Underground Railroad sites, research centers, university library collections and museums engaged in Underground Railroad and slavery era research and historic preservation through the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, located in Cincinnati.

Miami’s Western College campus will become the fifth designated Freedom Station in Ohio.

The Miami University archival collections, hosted in King Library, are home to the Freedom Summer Digital Archive, which includes a text and photo archive and audio/visual collections.