Freedom Summer and Reunion 2014: Understanding the Past, Building the Future

Freedom Summer image Miami University invites historic participants, scholars, activists, students and community members to gather and explore civil rights Oct. 11-14, 2014, as the university commemorates the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer.

In 1964 the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the National Council of Churches launched the Freedom Summer project to register African-American voters in Mississippi, establish Freedom Schools to teach children black history and build a network of community centers and other social support systems.

That June, more than 800 volunteers gathered at Western College for Women, now Western campus at Miami, to train for those tasks. Three participants — Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman -— were brutally murdered in Mississippi just after leaving Oxford, sparking an intensive federal investigation and national outrage.

To mark these important events in the civil rights era, Miami faculty, administrators and students are engaged in a number of efforts — both inside and outside of the classroom — related to Freedom Summer. Their efforts will culminate with the Oct. 11-14 conference.

The conference will include three days of events, with specific programming for Freedom Summer participants, current faculty and students, members of the Oxford community and scholars interested in Freedom Summer and civil rights issues.

The Freedom Summer conference committee welcomes additional ideas for programs and presentations by April 1. Submission guidelines are available under the “conference” tab (see “Call for Proposals”) at

The conference committee will reply to all proposals by July 1. The site also includes information about events and guests, along with Freedom Summer endeavors currently underway in and outside the classroom at Miami.

For additional information about “50 Years After Freedom Summer: Understanding the Past, Building the Future,” write or call 513.529.8309.