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Training for Freedom

26:50
Published:

Training for Freedom

 

This documentary captures the transformational story of how idealistic college students and Black activists came together in Oxford, Ohio, to find their humanity and the common ground to fight as one in the freedom struggle that would define a nation and alter the course of history. 

Premiering exclusively on PBS Western Reserve, TRAINING FOR FREEDOM weaves intimate personal stories from participants and local residents with critical historical analysis from noted historians and scholars. It explores how people from dramatically different worlds broke down barriers of race, class and gender to organize the most comprehensive campaign of the civil rights movement.

In the summer of 1964, volunteers and trainers for the Mississippi Freedom Summer Campaign descended upon the unlikely small, midwestern town to attend a week-long orientation held on the grounds of the Western College for Women.

Situated against the peaceful backdrop of the remote, pastoral campus, volunteers learned how to register Black voters; teach basic math, literacy and Black history erased from the segregated public schools; and stay alive using nonviolent disobedience tactics and hard learned rules for survival in the most dangerous and violently oppressed state in the Jim Crow South.

The experience not only transformed participants but also deeply touched many in the local community. Watching the participants prepare to challenge racial discrimination and oppression in the South raised their awareness and desire to confront similar issues in their own backyard, and provided those who saw themselves as far removed from the freedom struggle a chance to get involved and contribute to the movement in seemingly small but highly significant and enduring ways.

 

Photos:
Demonstration of nonviolent self-defense, June 1964. M351 Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photographs, Historical Manuscripts, The University of Southern Mississippi.  
 
Singing during orientation, June 1964. M351 Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photographs, Historical Manuscripts, The University of Southern Mississippi.
 
Western College Sign with Three Young People; June 1964. M351 Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photographs, Historical Manuscripts, The University of Southern Mississippi.
Miami University | Western College

Educational Materials

Training for Freedom Lesson Plans

Training for Freedom Lesson Plans

These Freedom Summer lesson plans focus on the training sessions that occurred at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio. The materials have wide applicability to a broad range of humanities and allow students to reflect upon and explore issues essential to democratic values. (Grades 1-12)
 

Freedom Summer: Curriculum Guides

Freedom Summer: Curriculum Guides

These curriculum guides focus on the events of Freedom Summer and were designed to used with sources in the Freedom Summer Digital Collections supported by the Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives at Miami University.  (Grades K-12)

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Training for Freedom Panel Discussion

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This panel discussion addresses race-related voter issues that persist to this day.

Songs for Freedom: The Music Behind the 1964 Freedom Summer

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Music played an important role in encouraging unity at the Freedom Summer trainings.