Finding Freedom Summer Traveling Exhibit

Finding Freedom Summer Traveling Exhibit

Created by an interdisciplinary team of Miami University faculty and staff, the Finding Freedom Summer Traveling Exhibit, along with corresponding lesson plans, teaches fourth and fifth grade students timely lessons about the civil rights movement, racial injustice and civil unrest. This project was funded as a deep-learning grant by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio.

Based on the 1964 Freedom Summer Training Program hosted on the campus of Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, the panels tell a compelling visual story using documentary photography rooted in local history, activism, and civic participation. The Freedom Summer Training Program prepared approximately 800 volunteer college students to register Black voters in Mississippi. Four sets of the 12-panel exhibit are available to be used in schools, libraries, and other organizations throughout Ohio and beyond.

The exhibit, researched and designed by Miami students and faculty, includes complementary lesson plans developed by two sections of a Miami undergraduate art education class and a professional development training program for educators interested in using the panel exhibit in their classroom.

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Why It Matters

The Freedom Summer story is an example of local history that altered the course of the Civil Rights Movement and transformed a nation, offering a relevant and powerful teachable moment for future generations. We are again at a time in our nation’s history when our next generation must be challenged to understand our nation’s troubled past, reflect and think critically about the world around them, and productively channel their thoughts and feelings into personal expression

Finding Freedom Summer Traveling Exhibit was generously funded by a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation to support excellence in public education throughout Ohio.

Finding Freedom Summer Traveling Exhibit offers valuable background in history and social studies while stimulating social emotional learning, meaningful reflection and creative expression through language arts, the social visual arts and more. It reminds us all that the efforts of a handful of young people can sway a nation. Using the visual power of a traveling panel exhibit to tell the story of a crucial time in history, Finding Freedom Summer confronts a timely and critical need by presenting 4th-5th grade teachers with a series of adaptable lesson plans, a range of discussion-stimulating topics and a variety of activities channeling creative expression. The exhibit connects the past with the present while immersing students deeply in timeless human themes and challenging them to find their voices.