We are a group of alumni, faculty, students and staff who have received permission from Cornell University to build a prominent national outdoor memorial to the memory and example of Michael Schwerner, ’61, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman. Our challenge: to raise the $500,000 required. With your generous support, we can succeed.
The memorial will also acknowledge the many students – Cornellians comprised the largest single college contingent in Freedom Summer – who went down south at great personal risk to join the struggle for equal rights in the 1960s. Finally, the memorial will "live" through the creation of a fund to provide support for present day students engaged in social justice work.
On the 50th anniversary of the murders of these three young men, we want their story of courage and commitment preserved for generations to come. The proposed memorial is not an invitation to mourn, but a call to honor—and emulate— their selfless efforts to realize the full promise of American democracy. Across lines of race, region, and religion, they joined together to make a better world. We can do the same.
REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT • ANDREW DICKSON WHITE • 1885
On the importance of memorials:
"Let me here repeat in substance what I have already said before to you and others. I believe that such memorials as these,—statues, busts, storied windows, tablets, portraits, and the like,—have a value beyond the simple commemoration of services, important as this may be. Such memorials exercise a great and steady educating influence in the domain of morals. I believe that presenting such memorials of lives that have been worthily lived before the eyes of great numbers of young men, and thus recalling to their minds the value of services to mankind as opposed to selfishness and ambition on a low plane, is of very great and lasting value even from a purely educational point of view. Every such memorial seems to me an endowed and perpetual means of higher education as to the proper aim and conduct of life...The chimes, the memorials, the bits of carving here and there, the walks among the groves and along the ravines and streams, have their value in creating an atmosphere which shall make our students something more than machines. I would lay stress here again on the educating value of all these things. The memorials, especially, serve to show students that there is a fame which outlasts that of the demagogue...They maintain the dignity of the University, the self-respect of its Faculty, the affectionate sentiment of its Alumni and Students."