Iowans Return to Freedom Summer, Patti Miller

Iowa Public TV Picture

Patti Miller’s engrossing 2015 documentary, Iowans Return to Freedom Summer, looks at a group of Iowan students who participated in 1964’s Freedom Summer. Ms. Miller was a student at Drake University at the time and was joined in her efforts by notable University of Iowa student Stephen Smith and professor emeritus Shelton Stromquist.


In the summer of 1964, hundreds of predominantly white college students answered the call from Civil Rights leaders to volunteer for Freedom Summer. They joined with voter registration efforts, taught in freedom schools and worked in community centers in towns throughout racially segregated Mississippi. This documentary features five native Iowans sharing why they felt compelled to volunteer.

The documentary provides interesting insights into the role of students in shaping the discourse around the civil rights both in the 1960s and today.

Miller, Patti. Iowans Return to Freedom Summer. Keeping History Alive Foundation. 2015.