Joan Trumpauer Mulholland: More Than An Ally

At an early age, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland realized that she needed to be an agent for change and fight for racial equality.

As a student at Duke University in 1960, Joan began her life as a civil rights activist, participating in sit-ins and supporting organizations like the Nonviolent Action Group, to the disapproval of her family and the schools administration. After dropping out of Duke, Mulholland joined the Freedom Rides in 1961, and found herself sentenced to Parchman Prison in Mississippi for two months for her participation. She refused bail, and had her sentence extended until she could pay the $200 fine leveled against her as well.

Once freed from Parchman, Mulholland continued her activism, integrating Tugaloo College in Mississippi as the first white student and becoming the first white member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. From sit-ins to Freedom Summer training, if there was an opportunity to help the Civil Rights Movement and fight for justice and racial equality, Joan was there. She was alongside Anne Moody in Jackson when counter protesters doused them with food and beverage at Woolworths, assisted with the organization of the March on Washington and participated in the march from Selma to Montgomery. Joan Tumpauer Mulholland was and continues to be an example of what ally ship truly embodies, and is able to share those lessons with young people today through the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation, which “seeks to eradicate racism through education”

Learn more about Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and other Fearless Women at The Center. Plan your visit today and experience how we’re more than a museum.

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