Jacky Johnson, Archivist at Western College Memorial Archives, and editor of Finding Freedom: Memorializing the Voices of Freedom Summer (Miami University Press), has compiled 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. An 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.