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freedom summer fifty years later

Freedom Summer Images

The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies and U.Va. Summer Session have worked together to bring you a pair of courses focusing on the freedom movement of the civil rights era, fifty years later. The courses are part of the Woodson Institute initiave, “50/5: Remembering the ‘Modern’ Movement for Civil Rights,” which focuses on several 50th anniversaries over the course of five significant years – 1963 through 1968. The series began in the fall of 2013 and more events and courses are planned through 2018. Students have the choice either to take just one of these classes, or to engage more deeply and take them as a pair. Taking advantage of the concentrated summer session schedule, students will have the opportunity to take part in engaging hands-on history in their exploration of milestones of the civil rights era/freedom movement.

UVa Today: Woodson Institute Series Fulfills Students' "Thirst" for Civil Rights History.

WCAV-WVAW-WAHU Newsplex and UVa Today: Remembering the Civil Rights Movement
Video with Professor Deborah McDowell about the history of Civil Rights in America.

AAS 3500(1)/HIUS 3559(3): Mapping Virginia in the Civil Rights Era

course dates:

June 16 - July 12, 2014

course times

10:30 - 12:45; Monday thru Friday


3 credits

Combining archival resources of the past with digital technologies of the present, this hands-on workshop examines Virginia's pivotal role in the civil rights movement. Focusing on how different struggles and strategies for change unfolded across the state's diverse geography, students will collaborate to build a digital map of Virginia's civil rights timeline.

Through case studies, we will ask how the particularities of place shaped the way activists debated strategies for dismantling Virginia's structure of racial discrimination. In addition to reading works by Earl Lewis, Patricia Sullivan, Charles Payne, Steven Lawson, Matthew Lassiter and others, students will benefit from in-class conversations with local experts at U.Va.


Laura Helton

Laura Helton, Instructor
University of Virginia
Carter G. Woodson Institute of African and African American Studies


AAS 3500(2)/HIUS 3559(4): Freedom Summer

Course Dates:

July 14 - August 8, 2014

course times

10:30 to 12:45; Monday thru Friday


3 credits.

This course explores the establishment of the Mississippi Summer Project, also known as Freedom Summer, in the Project’s 50th anniversary. Remembered perhaps most readily for the infamous murders of the three Civil Rights workers—James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner—this ten-weeks-long, multi-pronged campaign, centered largely on canvassing for voter registration and establishing Freedom Schools.  Such schools, which sprouted all over Mississippi were held in church basements, on front porches, in community centers, in barber shops, beauty parlors, pool halls and under shade trees.

We plan to recreate a slice of the Freedom Summer campaign in this course which, consistent with the philosophy and pedagogy of the Freedom Schools, seeks to integrate service with scholarship and to align the college classroom with the work of social change.  To fulfill the service requirements, students will be divided into groups carrying out the following activities ancillary to the classroom: 

  1. Canvassing Charlottesville neighborhoods to do voter education and registration in conjunction with the local NAACP and
  2. Volunteering with the newly instituted City of Promise.



LaTasha Levy

La Tasha Levy, Lecturer
University of Virginia
Carter G. Woodson Institute of African and African American Studies

Nicole Burrowes
Nicole Burrowes
University of Virginia
Carter G. Woodson Institute of African and African American Studies

Woodson Summer Course Funding Opportunity

The Carter G. Woodson Institute is pleased to announce the Woodson Summer Session scholarship. More information and application instructions can be found here.



For more information contact Lisa Shutt, Director of Undergraduate Programs,
Carter G. Woodson Institute of African and African American Studies,
University of Virginia