Oxford Black History Plaques & Memorials

The City of Oxford and Miami University are continuing to put up important plaques and memorial spaces to make it easier than ever for all of us to find the specific spots where Black history in our town has taken place.

Cephas Burns Plaque

Cephas Burns was a master stonemason in Oxford and was responsible for many of the gorgeous stone footbridges, lamp posts, and buildings that make Miami University's Western Campus so unique.

In March of 2021, the Western College Alumnae Association dedicated a plaque in honor of Cephas Burns which can now be found on the Western Campus footbridge running south of the Western Dining Commons.

For more photos of the plaque, including a close-up photo so you can read the inscription, click here.

Nellie Craig Walker

Nellie Craig Walker was an Oxford native and the first Black graduate from Miami University. In 1905, she earned her two-year teaching certificate and was the first Black educator to student-teach in the community's public schools to a mixed-race class.

On February 24, 2021, Miami University officials dedicated the former Campus Avenue Building as Nellie Craig Walker hall located at 301 S. Campus Avenue.

  • For more information about Nellie Craig Walker and her impact, please click here.
  • Watch the video of the Nellie Craig Walker Hall Dedication here.

Freedom Summer Memorial

Located across from Peabody Hall on Miami University's Western Campus is the Freedom Summer Memorial, built in 2000 to honor the lives and bravery of the 1964 Freedom Summer volunteers.

This stunning memorial features stone benches with engravings that chronicle the events of the entire summer. There are also three trees fitted with steel sculptures to honor James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman, the three volunteers who were murdered after leaving Oxford to do work in Mississipi.

Freedom Summer 1964 Mobile Experience- For more information about how to download the app to an iOS device, go to fsapp.lib.miamioh.edu.

Truth & Reconciliation Marker Source Information Overview

On June 21, 2021 during the 10th Annual National Civil Rights Conference at Miami University, this new plaque was erected in the uptown Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park to honor two lynching victims from Oxford's past: Simeon Garnett + Henry Corbin.

Extrajudicial lynchings occurred in Oxford in 1877 and 1892, resulting in the deaths of Simeon Garnett and Henry Corbin. Surviving sources of information on both lynchings primarily consist of local and regional newspaper coverage. Despite the fact that these newspapers offer openly prejudiced, graphic, and sensationalized accounts of the events which took place, they also provide the greatest amount of information available for historical analysis. Besides the newspapers, other primary and secondary information sources have also survived, including official death records, books and articles on the lynchings, oral histories, and other vital and genealogical records. Please contact the Smith Library of Regional History to obtain this information.

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