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Miami University names student lounges after slain activists

Posted at 3:21 PM, Dec 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-29 15:22:24-05

OXFORD, Ohio (AP) — Miami University in Ohio honored three slain Civil Rights activists by renaming student lounges in residence halls near where they trained during the Freedom Summer in 1964.

The activists — James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner — trained with hundreds of other volunteers in Oxford, Ohio, to register black voters in the Deep South. The men were ambushed and killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. The slayings of the three men, dramatized in the 1988 movie "Mississippi Burning," helped spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The university has already placed their names on an outdoor classroom memorial and a historical sign, as well as memorial trees and artwork at the site where much of the training occurred, the Hamilton-Middletown Journal reported.

Representatives of Miami's Associated Student Government suggested renaming the lounge spaces to increase awareness among the student body. The university's board of trustees unanimously approved the recommendation on Dec. 13.

Beechwoods Hall now has James Chaney Lobby. Hillcrest Hall now includes Andrew Goodman Lobby. And Stonebridge Hall has Michael Schwerner Lobby.

The new names have already taken effect, but official signage will be designed and ordered soon, according to the university.