Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer

If you go:
What: Author presentation and ongoing presentation: “Risking Everything: The Story of Freedom Summer”

Where: Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Author presentation is in the Institute for Campus Excellence (ICE), Room 150, Murphy Library.

When: Exhibit is available during all library open hours; presentation is at 7:00 p.m., April 7.

Admission: Free
Freedom Summer image





Risking Everything book

The traveling exhibit Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer, which focuses on the turbulent 1964 summer of civil rights activism in Mississippi, is on display on the first floor of Murphy Library. The display is up until April 8, 2015.In addition, Michael Edmonds, deputy director of the Library-Archives division at the Wisconsin Historical Society and editor of Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Reader, will give a public talk at 7:00 p.m. on April 7, in 150 Murphy Library. Both the exhibit and the talk are open to the public and are free of charge.

1964’s Freedom Summer was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, when more than 900 northern volunteers, 120 activists, and thousands of local Mississippi residents faced Ku Klux Klan firebombs and police shotguns to secure voting rights and challenge segregation.

Edmonds designed Wisconsin Historical Society’s online archive of 35,000 documents about Freedom Summer. His work led to the traveling exhibit and the book. In his talk, Edmonds will describe how America changed forever during the summer of 1964 and why one of the nation’s premier research collections on civil rights ended up in Wisconsin.

The exhibit and talk bring to light primary sources collected by the Wisconsin Historical Society that provide both firsthand accounts of this astounding grassroots struggle as well as a broader understanding of the civil rights movement. According to Edmonds, “You’ll read their letters, eavesdrop on their meetings, shudder at their suffering, and admire their courage. You’ll witness the final hours of three workers murdered on the project’s first day, hear testimony by black residents who bravely stood up to police torture and Klan firebombs, and watch the liberal establishment betray them.testimony by black residents who bravely stood up to police torture and Klan firebombs, and watch the liberal establishment betray them.”

Edmonds is a 1976 graduate of Harvard University, he earned an MS degree at Simmons College in 1979 and taught part-time at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The author of several articles and books, Edmonds has won national awards from the American Folklore Society and the American Association for State and Local History.