Visual Art

Risking Everything

UWEC exhibit, events focus on civil rights movement

Tom Giffey |

Freedom Summer protests in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1964.
Freedom Summer protests in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1964.

In Eau Claire, our Wisconsin autumn will be devoted to “Freedom Summer,” a pivotal chapter of the 1960s civil rights movement. The 1964 campaign to register African-American voters in Mississippi is the subject of a Wisconsin Historical Society exhibit, “Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Exhibit for Students,” which will be on display at UW-Eau Claire’s McIntyre Library Oct. 5-25, then at the Chippewa Valley Museum Oct. 27-30. The exhibit is part of a month-long series of events that will explore civil rights issues through film, music, lecture, and discussion. “The exhibit and related programming provide UW-Eau Claire an opportunity to share who we are as a campus community,” says Greg Kocken, head of the library’s Special Collections and Archives department. “We value equality, diversity, and inclusivity. These are not mere talking points for our campus. We believe our commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusivity creates a stronger learning environment that prepares our students for life and careers after their education.” Among the slate of events are an Oct. 5 opening reception for “Risking Everything” which will feature a discussion by curator Michael Edmonds; an Oct. 6 panel discussion by three participants in the original Freedom Summer; an Oct. 8 screening of the film Selma accompanied by a discussion led by professor Selika Ducksworth-Lawton; the Oct. 15 “Freedom Sings” concert of civil rights-era music at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepard; an Oct. 22 gathering at Volume One Gallery, where professor B.J. Hollars will read from his works on race relations; and much more. These Freedom Summer events will offer ample opportunities to engage with the historical challenges we still live with.

“Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Exhibit for Students” • Oct. 5-25 at UW-Eau Claire’s McIntyre Library; Oct. 27-30 at Chippewa Valley Museum • for full details on related events, visit