The 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 activists- James Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 10; and Michael Schwerner, 24 - who were murdered in Mississippi while investigating the burning of The Historic Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The three were among an estimated 800 activists who trained on the then-Western College for Women campus in the summer of 1964 before heading south. Three tree were planted in 2014, during the 50th commemoration of Freedom Summer, near the memorial as living tributes to the young men.
The panels on the back of the seating represent a chronology of events depicted by newspapers about the country. Reference is made often to Freedom Summer a book by Doug McAdam. New York University Press, 1988. The memorial reads from top of the bench to the lowest level, ending in the speakers circle.
Panel 1: Western to Host Civil Rights School
The National Council of Churches' Commission of Religion and Race will conduct a two-week instructional program at Western College for Women, June 12-27 THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 1964 OXFORD PRESS
Civil Rights Orientation Program Being Held at Western College in Nearby Oxford
TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 1964-JOURNAL DAILY NEWS-HAMILTON, OHIO
Panel 2: Mt. Zion Baptist Church burns to ground.
Fire starts after Negro mass meeting adjourns.
Three Negroes beaten by whites.
Church was freedom school site. TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 1964 PHILADELPHIA, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Students Told: Watch Out for Klan WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 1964 - CHICAGO NEWS, ILLINOIS
Panel 3. Students Warned on Southern Law Rights Volunteers Cautioned on Arrest in Mississippi. FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 1964-NEW YORK TIMES
Mississippi Rights Bus Leaves Ohio
Seventy-eight young civil rights workers left here yesterday on two buses for Mississippi, where they plan to conduct a voter registration drive among Negroes. SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 1964, - CINCINNATI (AP) PINE BLUFF COMMERCIAL, ARKANSAS
Panel 4. Molotov cocktail explodes in basement of Sweet Rest Church of Christ Holiness. SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 1964, MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 5. Three civil rights workers missing after short trip to Philadelphia, Miss. SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 1964-MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 6: Young Rights Trainees Scared, Dedicated "If you realized that you may be killed and I may be killed, the problem of being put in jail becomes very minute." MONDAY, JUNE 22, 1964-NATIONNAL OBSERVER
Panel 7: Missing car found burned; no sign of three workers. Car was on list circulated statewide by Canton White Citizen Council. TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 1964-PHILADELPHIA, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 8: FBI Joins in Search in South for 3 Missing Rights Workers TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 1964-YONKERS HERALD STATESMAN, N.Y.
Panel 9: Knights of Pythias Hall firebombed. Arson attempt on site of building used for voter rallies. TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 1964-MOSS POINT, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 10: LOOK, TIME reporters covering voter rally at William Chapel Chased out of town... next morning nine Negro homes and cars hit by bottles thrown from similar car. TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 1964-RULEVILLE, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 11: Charred Hulk of Car Spurs Intense Search WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1964-NEW HAVEN REGISTER, CONNECTICUT
Panel 12: Civil rights car hit by bullet. Police, mayor tell summer volunteer he can't live in Negro section of town and register voters.
CANTON, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1964-HOLLANDALE, MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM-SUMMER
Panel 13: Hate literature for whites: "Beware, good Negro citizens. When we come to get the agitators, stay away." FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1964, HATTIESBURG, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 14. The News of the Week in Review Racial Crises: Week of of Violence... Looking for bodies... Legal Limitations. SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 1964-NEW YORK TIMES
Freedom House call: "You'd better not go to sleep or you won't get up." FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1964-GREEWOOD, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 15: Oxford Blamed for Rights Meeting The village of Oxford has received some criticism from the Deep South for the "Operation Mississippi.
Panel 16: Negro woman threatened for registering to vote. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 1964-VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 17: Pickup truck tries to run down SNCC worker and volunteer. License plates hidden. WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 1964-CLARKESDALE, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panels 18 - 19 A group of residents...who wish to further encourage this "Peace Corps type operation"...have formed a "Friends of the Mississippi Freedom Project." Organization. THURSDAY, JULY 2, 1964-OXFORD PRESS
Panel 20: President Johnson Signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 THURSDAY, JULY 2, 1964 THURSDAY, JULY 2, 1964-WASHINGTON, D. C.
Panel 21: Two volunteers questioned by police who stop their integrated car as it leaves Sunday school. SUNDAY, JULY 5, 1964-LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SCHOOL
Panel 22-Panel 23: Negro woman shot twice at voter rally singing "We Shall Overcome." Three Negroes arrested when they pursue car from which they believe shots were fired. MONDAY, JULY 6, 1964-MOSS POINT, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 24: Four young Negroes injured during and after attempts in integrate lunch counter. SATURDAY, JULY 11, 1964, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 25: White Moderate Lives in Fear, Very Real Dancer... SUNDAY, JULY 12, 1964-MINNEAPOLIS TRIBUNE, MINNESOTA
Panel 26-Panel 27: Bullets... Threats... Ostracism
"It is very difficult to sleep at night. It's so hot here and then we are afraid of what might happen. The atmosphere is tense, oppressive. I'm not used to driving or walking around being afraid I might not come back when I leave a place..."
SUNDAY, JULY 12, 1964-BOSTON SUNDAY HERALD, MASSACHUSETTS
Panel 28: Freedom Day 111 arrest, including 13 juveniles. Group includes 98 adults, of who 9 were SNCC staff and 13 volunteers. THURSDAY, JULY 16, 1964-GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SCHOOL
Panel 28: A Negro women ordered off the bus and handled roughly by driver when when she sat worn next to a white man. FRIDAY, JULY 24, FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 29: FBI announces that tow of three bodies found near Philadelphia, Miss. last night have been identified as Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. (Third subsequently identified as James Chaney.)
Panels 30-31: Over 200 person gathered at four churches to take part in memorial procession for slain civil rights workers James Chaney. FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 1964-MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI-FREEDOM SUMMER
Panel 32-33: FBI arrests 21 in connection with murder of 3 civil rights workers in Mississippi. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1964 NEW YORK TIMES
Panels 34-35: Jury convicts seven of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of three volunteers. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1967 NEW YORK TIMES
Panel 36. THIS FREEDOM SUMMER '64 MEMORIAL, A JOINT PROJECT OF THE OXFORD NAACP, FRIENDS OF THE MISSISSIPPI SUMMMER PROJECT AND MIAMI UNIVERSITY, WAS DEDICATED APRIL 7, 2000. IT HONORS THE YOUNG VOLUNTEERS INVOLVED IN THE HISTORIC REGISTRATION DRIVE OF 1964 AND SYMBOLIZES APPRECIATION FOR THE IDEALISM OF YOUNG PEOPLE EVERYWHERE WHOSE SACRIFICES HAVE CREATED A MORE JUST SOCIETY.
Panel 37: JAMES CHANEY 21, ANDREW GOODMAN 20, AND MICHAEL SCHWERNER 24 TRAINED AT WESTERN COLLEGE FOR WOMEN BEFORE HEADING SOUTH TO REGISTERE BLACK VOTERS AS PART OF THE MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM SUMMER PROJECT. THEY LEFT OXFORD JUNE 20, 1964, AND DISAPPEARED THE NEXT DAY IN MISSISSIPPI. THEIR BODIES WERE FOUND BURIED IN AN EARTHEN DAM SIX WEEKS LATER.
Panel 38: Arthur Miller Class of '49 1929-2007 THROUGH HIS TIRELESS EFFORTS AND GENTLE PERSUASION "THE FREEDOM SUMMER 1964" MEMORIAL EXISTS.