|Joan Trumpauer Mulholland|
Last November, I was lucky enough to be invited to hear Joan Trumpauer Mulholland speak while attending the National Conference of Social Studies Conference in New Orleans. As part of the evening we received a copy of the documentary covering her Civil Rights activity, “An Ordinary Hero.” Prior to this meeting I did not know much about Mrs. Mulholland, even during dinner she was introduced as one of the early Freedom Riders. However, it was once I got home and viewed the documentary, that I realized Mrs. Mulholland has always been part of my teaching the Civil Rights Movement. An iconic lunch counter photo that I use every year in class—Mrs. Mullholland in the center of the photo.
As sponsor of the National History Honors Society, I encouraged students to view the documentary. Together with the African-American History Club, we organized a community night for students and parents to watch “An Ordinary Hero” and afterwards have a speaker who had been part of the movement answer questions.
“An Ordinary Hero” is the true story of Mrs. Mulholland’s courage to help change the world. As she entered college she was a Civil Rights Activist and would go on to participate in over three dozen sit-ins and protests. At one point she was even among those arrested along with other Freedom Riders and transported to Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Penitentiary. Watching the documentary, a lot of detail is given to her taking a seat at a Woolworth’s lunch counter and the violence that followed. It is this lasting image from that day that showcased her strength in the movement. Later she would go on to help plan and organize the 1963 March on Washington.
|Joan (in the middle) at the Woolworth's Lunch Counter.|
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