Though Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice (OCPJ) wasn’t around in 1964 during the Mississippi Summer Project, a number of our current and former members were around and/or very much involved. For example, the stories of Rick Momeyer and Jane Strippel are included in the book Finding Freedom: Memorializing the Voices of Freedom Summer, edited by Jacqueline Johnson. Our Bloom Peace Education Fund is named after Mel and Rosie Bloom, who were key players in the Friends of the Mississippi Summer Project that originated in Oxford. Roland Duersken, who worked with organizers and in a Freedom School in Mississippi, recently donated his personal collection of writings and photos to the Freedom Summer Archives at Miami University and spoke on a panel with other donors to the collection about his experiences at a reception last Friday evening. These items are currently on exhibit in King Library on the Miami Oxford campus.
OCPJ members have also been involved in the planning and realization of the conferences commemorating and celebrating anniversaries of Freedom Summer over the years, as well as the 50th Anniversary Conference taking place over the next few days. They are also part of plenary sessions and panels. Fighting against injustice is part of our personal, and collective, DNA.
This year we were proud to be involved in hosting representatives from the Highlander Center in New Market, TN last February to raise awareness both of Highlander’s role in Freedom Summer and its current campaigns on human rights and environmental justice under the theme “The Unfinished Business of Freedom Summer.”
We also donated audio and VHS tapes from our archives to Miami University. These included tapes of the Freedom Singers in 1964, and from a 1989 program called “Alternative Visions of Racial Justice: Upon the 25th Anniversary of the Mississippi Summer Project.” These include “Mississippi Summer Project Revisited,” an address given by Dick Gregory.
You can find out more about us at our conference display table, and from our Take Back Democracy brochure and flier included in registration packets and on information tables.