Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, the recipient of the 2015 National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award, is a Civil Rights Legend who participated in over 50 sit-ins and demonstrations by the time she was 23 years old. She was a Freedom Rider, a participant in the Jackson Woolworth’s Sit-in, and helped plan and organize the March on Washington.
For her actions she was disowned by her family, attacked, shot at, cursed at, put on death row and hunted down by the Klan for execution. Her path has crossed with some of the biggest names in the Civil Rights Movement: Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Robert F. Kennedy, John Lewis, Diane Nash, John Salter, Julian Bond, and Harry Belafonte, to name a few. In addition, she has met such luminaries of that period like Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Marlon Brando, Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson.
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 kid’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 was recognized, along with other female Freedom Riders, by President Barack Obama, received Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.’s Annual Award of Honor, the Anti-Defamation League Annual Heroes Against Hate Award, and a resolution was passed by her home state of Virginia recognizing her life-long achievements and contributions.
Articles about Joan have appeared in numerous publications: USA Today, Washington Post, Ebony Magazine, Washington Times, and the Clarion-Ledger.
She is a sought after speaker having presented at major universities, charitable events, government organizations, the US Congressional Luncheon, and the United Nations.