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Monona Public Library to host traveling exhibit “Freedom Summer” during Black History Month


The Monona Public Library will host the traveling exhibit “Freedom Summer” during the month of February that will feature a special presentation by local author Michael Edmonds on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. in the Municipal Room in the lower level of the library.  

Edmonds curated the Freedom Summer exhibit on display at Monona Public Library and also edited the book “Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Reader” about the triumphs and tragedies of that summer of 1964 and how it shaped the United States. Volunteers from Wisconsin went down south to gather the archival holdings of many organizations working to register voters in the South now held by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

“Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Reader” documents the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, when SNCC and CORE workers and volunteers arrived in the Deep South to register voters and teach non-violence, and more than 60,000 black Mississippians risked everything to overturn a system that had brutally exploited them. The Mississippi Summer Project made civil rights a national issue, inspired Black residents across the South, and helped launch the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Edmonds has earned degrees from Harvard University and Simmons College and, for more than 30 years, was on the staff of the Wisconsin Historical Society, where his work won national awards from the American Library Association, the American Folklore Society, and the American Association for State and Local History.