2014 Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Events

Book Launch Appearances

STARKVILLE, MS: October 21, Susan delivered the closing keynote address, “The Role of Historical Fiction in Civil Rights Education and Conversations on Race,” at the “Remembering Freedom Summer: Building a Better Future” conference hosted by Mississippi State University and African American Studies.

MERIDIAN, MS, Saturday, June 28, Highland Park: Susan signed books at the Veterans of 1964 Freedom Summer booth in Highland Park.

JACKSON, MS, Friday, June 27, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Tougaloo College, Warren Hall:  Meet the Authors event, Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference.


MERIDIAN, MS, Friday, June 27, 2:30 - 4:00 p.m., Meridian Community College Casteel Gallery: Susan and Bernice Sims (Detour Before Midnight) discussed how the Freedom Summer experience inspired their work. Dr. Bill Scaggs, MCC President Emeritus and co-founder of the Meridian Freedom Project, moderated.

MERIDIAN, MS, Wednesday, June 25, 4:00 p.m., Temple Theatre: Susan signed books at the historic Temple Theatre immediately following the screening of Stanley Nelson’s film “Freedom Summer.”

MERIDIAN, MS, Tuesday, June 24: Susan conducted an “I Have a Dream” Writers’ Workshop for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Meridian Freedom Project rhetoric classes. Students brainstormed on the theme “I Have a Dream,” then compared their thoughts with compositions written by students at the 1964 Meridian Freedom School.

Anniversary Celebrations

OXFORD OH: Miami University, home of Western College, orientation site for summer volunteers, hosted the Freedom Summer National Conference October 11-14.

JACKSON, MS, June 25-29: The Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference featured keynote addresses by Mr. Hollis Watkins, Dr. Robert “Bob” Moses, and Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman. Click here for the conference agenda.

MERIDIAN, MS, June 17-27: Multiple events, including: Meridian Civil Rights Trail unveiling, Martyr Commemoration and Bell Toll, Multi-cultural worship service, Talking Photograph Museum, screening of “Freedom Summer,” Honoring the Legacy and Pursuing Greatness featuring Children’s Defense Fund Founder and President Marian Wright Edelman. Click here for details.

JACKSON, MS: Tougaloo College, pivotal in civil rights activity during the 1950s and 1960s, marked the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement with an 18-month series of events commemorating the assassination of Medgar Evers, Freedom Summer, the Freedom Democratic Party, and the Civil Rights Act.

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History held a National Youth Summit February 5 at the Old Capitol Museum. High school students from across the U.S. were linked for remote participation. Notably, this was the first time the summit was presented from a location outside Washington, D.C.

Documentaries and the Arts

WOMEN MAKE MOVIES: Wednesdays in Mississippi, chronicling a group who traveled from primarily northern cities in the summer of 1964, visiting freedom schools and freedom centers, is near completion by Women Make Movies, leading distributor of independent films by and about women. The team includes Marlene McCurtis, award-winning documentarian for the Discovery Channel and PBS.

PBS’S THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Freedom Summer, directed by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wounded Knee, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders), premiered June 24.

PASADENA SOUTHWEST CHAMBER MUSIC: Ten Freedom Summers, an opus interpreting the civil rights movement from 1954 through 1964, opened in late 2011. It is composed by Wadada Leo Smith and directed by Grammy Award-winning conductor Jeff von der Schmidt.

CLARITY FILM’S FREEDOM ON MY MIND: Academy Award nominee, Best Documentary Feature 1994, Freedom On My Mind, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Connie Field (Have You Heard from Johannesburg, The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, ¡Salud!) and Marilyn Mulford, chronicles Freedom Summer and the Mississippi voter registration struggles of 1961 to 1964.



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