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Oxford and Beyond

Miami’s Civil Rights Film Festival to honor 60th anniversary of Freedom Summer

Black History Month events in Oxford and at the Regionals

Participants took part in the MLK Celebration: Community Silent March honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
Several people took part in the Jan. 31 MLK Celebration: Community Silent March honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
Oxford and Beyond

Miami’s Civil Rights Film Festival to honor 60th anniversary of Freedom Summer

Several people took part in the Jan. 31 MLK Celebration: Community Silent March honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

A canned food drive service project that was part of Miami University’s Week of Service and Reflection to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 28-Feb. 3 collected more than 220 pounds of food and personal items at the Oxford campus and Regionals. The donations will benefit Miami University students.

“The Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (OTIE) looks forward to future opportunities to reflect, serve, and celebrate,” said Tekeia Howard, director of programming for OTIE.

At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, in 322 McGuffey Hall, Camille Wimbish, a voter rights protection attorney, will give a talk titled “The State of Voter Rights: 60 years after Freedom Summer.” She is the inaugural director of campaigns and field programs with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

If unable to attend this alumni association event in person, register for the livestream.

Miami’s Civil Rights Film Festival next week

Next week, as part of the 60th anniversary of Freedom Summer, the Civil Rights Film Festival will take place at Peabody Hall from Sunday, Feb. 11, through Thursday, Feb. 15.

The five-night film festival was created to share the story of the Civil Rights Movement and the connection to the Western College for Women, which is now part of Miami’s Western campus.

In what has become known as Freedom Summer, about 800 volunteers — many of them college students — trained in Oxford before traveling to the South to register Black voters and set up freedom schools and community centers in Mississippi and elsewhere.

One film will be screened each night, with an introduction and Q-and-A period to follow.

President Gregory Crawford, acclaimed author and journalist Wil Haygood ‘76, and Cristina Alcalde, vice president for institutional diversity and inclusion, will kick off the film festival at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, in Leonard Theatre in Peabody Hall, with the showing of “Mississippi Burning.”

The 1988 film is loosely based on the 1964 murder investigation of three Freedom Summer activists — Michael Schwerner, 24, James Chaney, 21, and Andrew Goodman, 20 — who were murdered in Mississippi by the Ku Klux Klan after training in Oxford.

Haygood, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, was honored with the Freedom Summer of ’64 Award on Nov. 14 during an event at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. He has been the Boadway Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence in Miami’s Department of Media, Journalism, and Film since 2014-2015.

Other film festival events next week include:

  • Monday, 7 p.m., the film, “Till,” introduced by Ron Scott, Miami’s former vice president for institutional diversity and inclusion.
  • Tuesday, 7 p.m., the film, “Selma,” introduced by Rodney Coates, professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.
  • Wednesday, 7 p.m., the film, “The Butler,” introduced by Haygood, who expanded "A Butler Well Served by this Election," his 2008 Washington Post story about White House butler Eugene Allen into the book, "The Butler." It was the basis of the 2013 movie.
  • Thursday, 7 p.m., the film, “Training for Freedom,” a Freedom Summer documentary produced in partnership with Miami about how idealistic college students and Black activists came together in 1964 on a civil rights mission. It will be introduced by Haygood and Rick Momeyer, professor emeritus of Philosophy. Several people tied to Miami and the university’s Department of Media, Journalism & Film were involved in production of the film.

Regionals spotlight

Miami University Regionals offers numerous free public events throughout the year that strive to amplify voices, foster understanding, and embrace diversity, said Matthew Smith, director of public programming.

Two events later this month include:

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, in the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center on the Hamilton campus: Nate Lampley, Jr., will examine how we grow stronger as a nation when we work together toward common goals. A 1981 graduate of Hamilton High School, the experienced commercial litigator is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and managing partner of the global law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP.
  • Thursday, Feb. 29, 11:30 a.m. lunch followed by a noon program in the Miriam G. Knoll Community Center (Johnston Hall) on the Middletown campus: Middletown native Stephen Hightower, president and CEO of Hightowers Petroleum Co., will reflect on leveraging opportunities to grow in business and life. A self-made entrepreneur, Hightower expanded his Ohio-based fuel distribution company into an international energy solutions enterprise covering the entire energy value chain, from petroleum supply to energy solutions. Hightower served at the pleasure of former President Barack Obama and was re-confirmed by President Donald Trump with two appointments: the Department of Interior, National Park Foundation, and the Department of Energy’s National Petroleum Council.

RSVP for these free events online at or call Kelly McDaniel-Hayes at 513-785-3277.