With its first appearance on American motion picture screens in February 1935, The March of Time startled journalists, filmmakers, and audiences alike with its controversial topics and unique approach to newsreels. The "issues", as the newsreels were called, were a blend of confrontational journalism and docudrama, often using actors to stage events that had not been photographed on newsreel cameras. The series began with brief segments in the 1930s and eventually grew in length and scope to television programs of in-depth coverage of a single topic. Though extremely popular worldwide, the series eventually ceded viewers to the popularity of television programming, ending movie theatre presentations in 1951 and airing its last television segment in 1967.
When the administration of the Western College for Women – now a part of Miami University – opened its campus to civil rights activists in 1964, the institution followed its long tradition of independence and innovation. An estimated 700 young, idealistic college students from across the north arrived in Oxford, Ohio for voter registration training before leaving to serve in Mississippi to register African-Americans to vote and assist with local community projects, like Freedom schools and the building of community centers.
Today, the story of Freedom Summer has the power to evoke important questions about American identity, public life, engagement, and commitment. This exhibit will focus on local resident Roland Duerksen and former student volunteers Carole Colca and Mark Levy. They have left the legacy of their work in the Western College Memorial Archives. This exhibit, which includes photographs, letters, audio recordings, and an interactive map of Mississippi, will serve as a narrative of their dedication to civil rights and social justice.
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