IMG_8331The Wisconsin Historical Society is currently hosting two free exhibits about the civil rights movement at its headquarters on the University of Wisconsin campus.  One of them is a traveling exhibit only in Madison for two weeks, while the other will be here through summer.

Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Exhibit for Students tells the story of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project, when CORE and SNCC staff led 900 northern volunteers and thousands of black residents in a challenge to segregation. Dozens were beaten, hundreds arrested, and six killed, including three workers whose murder was fictionalized in the 1988 film, Mississippi Burning. More than 20 Wisconsin residents participated in Freedom Summer.

IMG_8335Freedom Files features manuscripts, photographs, and rare publications from the Society’s nationally known civil rights archives. The materials depict segregation, violence, school integration, sit-ins, and freedom schools. Events from the southern civil rights struggle documented in the exhibit include the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957, the killing of three Mississippi workers in 1964, and Freedom Summer.

The two exhibits display facsimiles of original documents collected by the Society in the mid-1960s, while events were still unfolding. They are part of the Society’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer.

Risking Everything is only open through Friday, March 14th, when it begins a year-long trip through schools, libraries and museums in Wisconsin and Mississippi. Freedom Files is open until July 2014.

At a Glance:

  • Where: Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State Street, Madison, WI
  • When: Risking Everything open through March 14, 2014.
  • When: Freedom Files open until July 2014.
  • Hours: Lobby is open Monday-Thursday, until 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 8:00-5:00 p.m.
  • Cost: free and open to the public!
  • Parking options near headquarters

IMG_8336Want more information? Contact Michael Edmonds at (608) 264-6538.

Visit the 1964 Freedom Summer Digital Collection for images, original documents, and even teacher resources!

For regular updates and snippets from the collection, “Like” the collection on Facebook!

Learn more about the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives, including other digital collections, indexes, and how to visit.