Through The Eyes of Women: Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Shares How “She Stood For Freedom”

Jul 26, 2017

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland grew up in Virginia in the 1950s and witnessed the injustice of segregation firsthand. As a teenager, she joined the Civil Rights Movement, attending demonstrations and sit-ins. Because of her passionate belief in the cause, she was involved in several important and historically significant events. 


She was at several key moments in the Civil Rights struggle:  

  • The Freedom Rides of 1961
  • The Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963
  • The March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963
  • The Selma to Montgomery March in 1965

 

The Jackson, Mississippi Woolworth sit-in. Mulholland is in the center with her head turned away.
Credit Fred Blackwell
Joan says, “Anyone can make a difference. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. Find a problem, get some friends together, and go fix it. Remember, you don’t have to change the world … just change your world.”
 Filled with original photography, images of historical documents, and breathtaking collage artwork, “She Stood For Freedom” is a celebration of the effect a single life can have on the world. 

“Segregation was unfair. It was wrong, morally, religiously. As a Southerner — a white Southerner — I felt that we should do what we could to make the South better and to rid ourselves of this evil.”  

Joan was asked many times why she was putting her life in danger for the Civil Rights movement. Why had she left her family and friends and her old way of life, to fight for the cause? Her response, at least to herself, was a poem she wrote called “Dialogue”. The poem, Joan said, is “still my response. It still explains my attitude toward what I’ve done on the Civil Rights issue, primarily motivated by being a Southern and a Christian, and incidentally, an American.”

DIALOGUE

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

TO JAIL.

WHAT DID YOU DO?

NOTHING.

NOTHING BUT ACT LIKE AN AMERICAN.

WHY DID YOU DO THAT?

I THOUGHT YOU WERE A SOUTHERNER.

I AM.

YES.

THEN WHY?

THAT’S WHY.

BECAUSE I’M A SOUTHERNER.

NOTHING MORE?

I’M A CHRISTIAN.

THAT’S WHAT THEY ALL SAY.

BUT FOR A DIFFERENT REASON.

I READ THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

YOU ARE STRANGE.

YES.

VERY STRANGE.

BUT NOT ALONE.