miami university

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Finding Freedom: Memorializing the Voices of Freedom Summer

Nonfiction

Edited by Jacqueline Johnson

2013. 978-1-881163-52-7

Finding Freedom: Memorializing the Voices of Freedom Summer

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Finding Freedom: Memorializing the Voices of Freedom Summer is the first book to provide detailed information about the Freedom Summer Memorial on the campus of Western College at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The monument was dedicated in 2000 to commemorate Western’s role in Freedom Summer and to serve as a memorial to James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman, the Freedom Summer trainees subsequently murdered in Mississippi. Their deaths focused national and world attention on the continuing existence of segregation and violent racism in the United States. Ultimately, Freedom Summer marked an important milestone in the history of the civil rights movement.

The book contains essays from participants in the 1964 training sessions at Western College, including essays by Oxford residents who supported the Friends of the Mississippi Project. As essay by Freedom Summer Memorial architect Robert Keller, a poem by Miami University alumna and National Medal of the Arts winner Rita Dove, and period photographs by nationally-known photographer George Hoxie are joined by essays by Chude Allen, Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, Carole Colca, Phyllis Hoyt, Mark Levy, Rick Momeyer, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, and Jane Strippel. Filmmaker Keith Beauchamp contributes a preface.

Finding Freedom: Memorializing the Voices of Freedom Summer touches a diverse range of disciplines, including history, architecture, anthropology, jurisprudence, ethics, photography, print journalism, religion, media studies, social studies, psychology, women’s studies, African-American studies, music and education. As such, the book is targeted to a wide audience. It will be of interest to elementary, secondary school, and college educators and students; to libraries, museums, cultural centers, civic groups, photojournalists, documentary producers, and news agencies; and to researchers interested in Ohio history, the history of education, and the history of the civil rights movement.


“Western College for Women, known for its dedication to social justice, was a natural partner in the events of Freedom Summer ’64. By opening the campus to those training to work as civil rights volunteers in Mississippi, Western became a witness to history, and to the courage and commitment of all those associated with the Freedom Summer movement.”

—Mackenzie Becker Rice, Director, Western College Alumnae Association

“The training college students received at Western College in preparation for traveling south for the 1964 Freedom Summer was critical to the success of that effort. We do not know enough about what took place during those days of training. What were the expectations of the students and how did they prepare themselves for the challenges ahead? Finding Freedom provides an opportunity to better understand the fears and courage of the young people who dared confront Mississippi authorities known for their often-violent efforts to suppress African American voter registration and civil rights. Finding Freedomremindsus that determined individuals can change the direction of a nation.”

—Dr. Spencer Crew, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of American, African American and Public History at George Mason University

About the Editor

Jacqueline Johnson is the Archivist of the Western College Memorial Archives. She earned her Master of Library Science degree from the University of South Carolina and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Limestone College. She serves as chairperson of the national Mississippi Freedom Summer Conference that will be held on the campus of Miami University in 2014. Her research focuses on civil rights and the Mississippi Freedom Summer training and history of Western College.