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60th Anniversary: Freedom Summer ‘64

60th Anniversary: Freedom Summer ‘64

At Miami University, we continue to be inspired and guided by the important civil rights legacy of the Freedom Summer of 1964. As we commemorate the 60th anniversary of Freedom Summer of 1964, also known as the Mississippi Summer project, we invite the Miami community to reflect on, discuss, and put into action possibilities for addressing persistent inequities and injustices, and the continued importance of voting rights.

The Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (OTIE) has launched a Call for Proposals (CFP) connected to Freedom Summer ‘64 education and celebration on campus. If you are interested in exploring the CFP, visit the following form.

Freedom Summer 1964 Call for Proposals

All proposals should be submitted by Friday, September 27th to be considered for this CFP for the 60th Anniversary Recognition and Celebration. The events submitted through this CFP should take place between July 2024 and May 2025. 

If you are already hosting an event, have resources, or other forms of information that would be beneficial to share with the campus community, we invite you to inform us of these campus resources by email at OTIE@miamioh.edu

 

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events


Coming soon!

Our History: Freedom Summer 1964

Freedom Summer 1964

Freedom Summer, also known as the Mississippi Summer Project, was a 1964 voter registration drive sponsored by civil rights organizations including the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Aimed at increasing Black voter registration in Mississippi, the Freedom Summer workers included Black Mississippians and hundreds of out-of-state, predominately white volunteers.

Though the SNCC agreed to recruit only one hundred white students for the project, a much larger number was ultimately recruited. Two one-week orientation sessions for the volunteers were held from June 14 to June 27 in Oxford, Ohio, on the campus of then-Western College for Women (now part of Miami University).

Freedom Summer of ‘64 Award

Freedom Summer of ‘64 Award

The Freedom Summer of ’64 Award was created to honor champions of civil rights and social justice. It is given in remembrance and recognition of 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.

"This award honors the legacy of the civil rights movement, but is also a new call for students, faculty, staff and citizens to reconnect with civic service and civil rights at a time when participation, and standing for one's belief in their fellow humans is more important than ever," said Gregory Crawford, President of Miami University.

Nominations for the 2024 Freedom Summer '64 Award are currently closed. We invite all faculty, staff, alumni, and students to nominate individuals or organizations with exceptional trajectories as champions of civil rights and social justice. You can do so by emailing us at OTIE@miamioh.edu, and we can provide additional next steps for the nomination process. 

For more information on Freedom Summer and Miami's commemoration of this historic event, see Celebrating Freedom.

Freedom Summer 1986 Memorial and Campus Landmarks

Freedom Summer Memorial

Tucked into one of the grassy hills composing Western Campus at Miami University there lies a magnificent stone monument commemorating the Freedom Summer of 1964.

Dedicated in 2000, it honors three civil rights workers — James Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 20; and Michael Schwerner, 24 — who were murdered in Mississippi while registering Black voters. The three were among 800 activists who trained on the then-Western College for Women campus in the summer of 1964 before heading south. At the memorial’s groundbreaking, Miami and NAACP officials said, "It’s important for young people to know the sacrifices of those who fought for a fairer, more just society." Three trees were planted near the memorial as living tributes to the young men.

In February 2018, Western College was declared a Freedom Station by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Memorial Visiting Information

The Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum (RCCAM) provides parking for visitors to the Freedom Summer ‘64 Memorial site. RCCAM is also open to the public, and visitors may utilize restrooms on-site during open hours. Tours may be available on request when staff are available or by appointment. Groups or classes can arrange a viewing of the short educational film Training for Freedom in the museum’s auditorium in connection with their visit to the memorial. Please contact us for information about accessibility needs.

 

The Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum (RCCAM)

801 South Patterson Avenue

Oxford, OH 45056

513-529-2232

artmuseum@MiamiOH.edu

 

The Art Museum is open during the academic year during the following times:

  • Tuesday through Friday 10 AM-5 PM
  • Second Wednesday 10 AM-8 PM
  • Saturday Noon-5 PM

Buildings at Miami

In 2019, representatives of Miami’s Associated Student Government voted to name three lounge spaces in three residence halls on Western campus to increase awareness for today’s students of Freedom Summer 1964 and memorialize the lives and efforts of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. These three spaces are

  • James Chaney Lobby, in Beechwoods Hall.
  • Andrew Goodman Lobby, in Hillcrest Hall.
  • Michael Schwerner Lobby, in Hodge Hall.

Freedom Summer ‘64 Educational Resources

Miami University Libraries Freedom Summer Collection

Miami University Libraries is excited to share our events and collections that relate to the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Freedom Summer, 2024 at the Reimagining the Academy Conference, September 19 - September 21, 2024.

Freedom Summer Text & Photo Archive

The Freedom Summer Digital Archive began in 2009 with a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council, the Miami University Libraries, and through the generous support of Catherine Ross-Loveland, a 1952 graduate of the Western College for Women. The archive is split into two collections: the Freedom Summer Text & Photo Archive, and the Freedom Summer A/V Collection.

Training for Freedom Documentary

Training for Freedom shares the story about training that occurred at the Western College for Women, now part of Miami’s Western campus. Several people tied to Miami and the university’s Department of Media, Journalism & Film (MJF) were involved in production of the film. Richard Campell, former chair of MJF and professor emeritus, was executive producer and University Archivist Jacqueline “Jacky” Johnson was co-producer.

Stories of Freedom Summer

In Fall 2014, Special Collections presented Stories of Freedom Summer: from the Western College Memorial Archives. The exhibit featured many of the items now available on this webpage. On October 10th, the 2nd Annual Special Collections Lecture featured a panel of the three volunteers who were featured in the exhibit: Carole Gross Colca, Roland Duerksen, and Mark Levy. All three volunteered in Mississippi that summer and this exhibit serves as a narrative of their dedication to civil rights and social justice. In addition to the photographs, letters, and memorabilia, the exhibit includes audiovisual and interactive media. While in the exhibit room, visitors will be able to hear the voices of Freedom Summer's volunteers and supporters. Taken from the Freedom Summer Digital Archive, samples of participants' oral histories play in the background of the exhibit and a screen displays information about each speaker. On one wall of the room stands an interactive map of Mississippi, with significant sites of Freedom Summer highlighted. When touched, each site displays an image, a quote, or an article about events in that city. Like the oral histories, all the items in the interactive map can be found in the Freedom Summer Digital Archive.

Freedom Summer: Curriculum Guides

The following curriculum guides focus on the events of Freedom Summer and were designed to be used with digitized primary sources in the Freedom Summer Digital Collections supported by the Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives at Miami University. Digitized material relating to Freedom Summer can be found in two digital collections: The Freedom Summer Text & Photo Archive and the Freedom Summer AV Collection. Original materials can be viewed in person at the Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives at Miami University in Oxford, OH. There are guides for classrooms in the first grade to twelfth grade, as well as some college and adult level guides.

Past Events

Their Legacy, Our Inspiration: Archiving the Stories of Black Women in Oxford

Wednesday, May 8th, 2024 | 2:50 pm to 4 pm | King Library, 320 

This student-led symposium will showcase the public and digital history work of Dr. Jazma Sutton’s Black Women in America course at Miami University. Over the semester, students worked to shed light on the experiences of Black women in Oxford by interrogating and reimagining archival collections from two repositories: the Jennie Elder Suel Collection in the Walter Havighurst Special Collections at Miami University, and the Oxford Black History Collection at Smith Library of Regional History. Through digitizing the Jennie Elder Suel collection, creating metadata, writing biographies of local African Americans, and conducting original research, Dr. Sutton and her students contributed new sources, information, and descriptions to previously overlooked and forgotten archival collections. It is their hope that this community-centered project makes it easier for future researchers and students to discover Black women in the archive and understand the significance of their contributions to Oxford and Miami University. Reception will follow with dishes from the Bethel A.M.E. Church cookbook, A Taste of Bethel Oxford.

Sponsored by Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives, Smith Library of Regional History, Department of History, Humanities Center, Bethel A.M.E. Church, Lived Experiences Through Storytelling

60th Anniversary of Freedom Summer ‘64: Open House

Tuesday, Jan. 30th, 2024 | 11 am to 1 pm | Hanna House

Join us in reflection as we begin the spring semester with a celebration of freedom in recognition of the 60th anniversary of Freedom Summer ‘64, a Civil Rights milestone that took place in Oxford, Ohio, on the Western College for Women campus (now- Miami University). This event is part of the MLK Week of Reflection and Service.

Sponsored by the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence 

Understanding the Past, Building the Future: 50th Anniversary Conference

October 11th, 2014 | News Story 

That fateful Freedom Summer of '64 became the catalyst for much progress and change in our nation. In 2014, Miami celebrated the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer with a University-wide, year-long event, "Celebrating Freedom: Understanding the Past, Building the Future." It provided an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and the efforts yet to come in the United States and globally to ensure the freedom and dignity of all people. The Celebration focused on issues and topics such as civil rights, immigration, voting rights, women’s rights, gay rights, freedom of speech, human rights, and others—all related to the basic right of freedom.