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The five-night film festival was created to share the story of the Civil Rights Movement and the connection to the Western College for Women, which is now part of Miami’s Western campus.

In what has become known as Freedom Summer, about 800 volunteers — many of them college students — trained in Oxford before traveling to the South to register Black voters and set up freedom schools and community centers in Mississippi and elsewhere.

One film will be screened each night, with an introduction and Q-and-A period to follow.

  • President Gregory Crawford, acclaimed author and journalist Wil Haygood ‘76, and Cristina Alcalde, vice president for institutional diversity and inclusion, will kick off the film festival at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, in Leonard Theatre in Peabody Hall, with the showing of “Mississippi Burning.”

The 1988 film is loosely based on the 1964 murder investigation of three Freedom Summer activists — Michael Schwerner, 24, James Chaney, 21, and Andrew Goodman, 20 — who were murdered in Mississippi by the Ku Klux Klan after training in Oxford.

Haygood, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, was honored with the Freedom Summer of ’64 Award on Nov. 14 during an event at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. He has been the Boadway Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence in Miami’s Department of Media, Journalism, and Film since 2014-2015.

Other film festival events include:

  • Monday, 7 p.m., the film, “Till,” introduced by Ron Scott, Miami’s former vice president for institutional diversity and inclusion.
  • Tuesday, 7 p.m., the film, “Selma,” introduced by Rodney Coates, professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.
  • Wednesday, 7 p.m., the film, “The Butler,” introduced by Haygood, who expanded "A Butler Well Served by this Election," his 2008 Washington Post story about White House butler Eugene Allen into the book, "The Butler." It was the basis of the 2013 movie.
  • Thursday, 7 p.m., the film, “Training for Freedom,” a Freedom Summer documentary produced in partnership with Miami about how idealistic college students and Black activists came together in 1964 on a civil rights mission. It will be introduced by Haygood and Rick Momeyer, professor emeritus of Philosophy. Several people tied to Miami and the university’s Department of Media, Journalism & Film were involved in production of the film.


  • Ms. Elizabeth Rene Parsons
  • Nina Dora Liebes-McClellan

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