Joe Madison to receive Freedom Summer of '64 Award at Miami's Diversity and Inclusion Conference Oct. 9

Madison to give keynote at the virtual conference; registration open


Joe Madison (image SiriusXM ).

Less than a month before the presidential election, an intense focus on voting rights will come to Miami Oct. 9 when influential radio talk-show host Joe Madison gives the keynote address at Miami’s virtual Diversity and Inclusion Conference, called “Across the Divide.”

Madison, host of an acclaimed show on SiriusXM radio, also will receive the Freedom Summer of ’64 Award, signaling Miami’s continuing commitment to social justice and honoring those who keep the spirit of Freedom Summer alive.

“This year in particular, with all of the talk about voting rights and the importance of voting, this is so important. This is critical,” said Ron Scott, recently retired as vice president of institutional diversity and now an advisor to Miami President Greg Crawford. “This is a message I think people need to hear.”

Breakout topics include the First Amendment at public universities, getting to know Miami’s affinity groups and data ethics. Anthony James, interim vice president of institutional diversity, said the conference is part of Miami’s larger conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion. He is emphasizing informing and engaging the Miami community about the university’s diversity initiatives.

“We want to highlight our advances, and the conference also is an opportunity to talk about where we want to go,” James said.

Madison originally was scheduled to receive the award at the National Civil Rights Conference on Miami’s Western campus in June. But the event was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak and has been rescheduled for June 2021.

Miami officials said Madison has spent a lifetime advocating for the right to vote, from the NAACP to his worldwide platform on SiriusXM radio.

“Your focus and priority on increasing the number of informed voters, and your challenge of, ‘What are you going to do?’ has laid the groundwork and pointed listeners to the same voting path that was the core of the Freedom Summer movement – participation and change,” President Crawford wrote in his award notification to Madison.

 “The Joe Madison Show,” which airs weekday mornings on SiriusXM, calls attention to social injustice around the world. In 2015, Madison made history by broadcasting live from Cuba, the first American radio host to do so in more than 50 years. A native of Dayton, Madison was named one of Talker magazine’s 100 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts nine times, and he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last year. Before becoming a broadcaster in 1980, Madison was the youngest executive director of the Detroit branch of the NAACP. He eventually was appointed national political director and a member of the organization’s board of directors.

Madison earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Washington University (St. Louis) in 1971, the first in his family to earn a college degree. He was an all-conference running back on the football team, a baritone soloist in the university choir and a disc jockey at the campus radio station.

This is the fourth Freedom Summer of ’64 Award. It is named to remember and recognize the site at the Western College for Women, now part of Miami University, where 800 young Americans trained to register black voters in the south. The inaugural award was presented to Congressman John Lewis in March 2018. Lewis has dedicated his life to advancing the rights of all Americans and was one of the trainers during Freedom Summer on the Western College campus.

In June 2019, Miami presented the award to Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Mississippi, for its work ensuring that the memory of Freedom Summer and three civil rights workers who were killed that summer – James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner – lives on.

Miami is presenting two Freedom Summer of ’64 awards this year. In March, Miami presented the award to Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, Western College alumna and former president of the League of Women Voters.