AAAS presents: An Evening with Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. Celebrating the Freedom Riders

Civil Rights activist and iconic Freedom Rider Joan Trumpauer Mulholland visits George Mason University in conversation to commemorate 60 years since the Freedom Rides revolutionized the ways of protest and the faces of protest during the modern Civil Rights Movement. Segments of the documentary, An Unordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland will also be featured. Moderated by Professor Charles L. Chavis, Jr., all are invited to join this virtual event to remember, honor and celebrate diversity in the ongoing fight for freedom. 


During the event, Ms.Mulholland expanded on what urged her to fight for civil rights from her experience in a black neighborhood at 10 years old. She quickly noticed the difference in resources allocated to the black and white schools where they didn't even have paint on the walls let alone bathrooms and supplies. From there she attended mixed race bible study groups in hopes of  integrating with both races. During her time she had faced a lot of push back from her family community and the system. She is proud of her work for getting segregation outlawed but wished that would have also meant getting racism out of it as well. 


Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, born September 14, 1941 is an American civil rights activist who was active in the 1960s. She was one of the Freedom Riders who was arrested in Jackson Mississippi in 1961, and was confined for two months in the Maximum Security Unit of Mississippi State Penitentiary (Known as “Parchman Farm”). The following year she was the first white student to enroll at Tougaloo College in Jackson Mississippi and served as the local secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She later worked as a teacher and after her retirement she established the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to educating youth about the Civil Rights Movement and how to become activists in their communities. 


As a white southern woman her courage and fortitude in the Movement is highly regarded and recognized. Joan has appeared in several books including “Coming of Age in Mississippi”, “Breach of Peace”, “We Shall Not Be Moved”, and the new illustrated children’s books about her life, “She Stood For Freedom”. She has appeared on television and news programs like the “CBS Nightly News”. And her story and experiences were highlighted award-winning documentaries including “An Ordinary Hero”, PBS’s “Freedom Riders”, “Standing on My Sister’s Shoulders” and the groundbreaking film “Eyes on the Prize”.


She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work in the Civil Rights Movement. Most recently she received the 2018 “I Am a Man” Award on the 50th Anniversary of King’s assassination. In 2014 Joan and other female Freedom Riders were recognized by President Barack Obama. Joan has also received the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated Annual Award of Honor and the Anti-Defamation League Annual Heroes Against Hate Award.