My Most Popular Post Ever: Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

This post about Joan Trumpauer Mulholland has gotten a huge swell of reblogs in part thanks to Mother Jones.  

A couple of comments have centered around the fact that Joan enrolled in Tougaloo College, a historically black college.  The comments range from HBC never banned white students to she invaded a school meant for black students. 

One of the first students to graduate from Tougaloo was white and for much of its history the college encouraged exchanges with white colleges such as Millsap College and Brown University.  This policy changed during the Black Power movement and between 1970 and 1980 white students were no longer accepted.

The strategy behind the two way integration of white students attending primarily black colleges was meant to show that integration shouldn’t be a small number of “exceptional” black students attending overwhelmingly white colleges.  Some historically black colleges chose to accept white students as part of an overall civil rights plan. 

Here is a photo that shows Joan taking part in a sit-in while at Tougaloo.  Incidentally, the man seated on the left is Native American (Mi’kmaq/St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk).

Other Freedom Rider posts can be found here.

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

When I think about my role and the role of whites in the Freedom Rides and the movement in general, I think things could certainly have changed without our participation. But I think it helped that I was white and a Southerner, because white segregationists saw other white Southerners taking a stand for change. 

Sit-in at the Woolworths lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi, 1963
Annie Moody (far right) was a student at Tougaloo College in Jackson. Mustard and ketchup drip off her forehead. Joan Trumpauer (center), also a student at Tougaloo, had been doused with mustard, ketchup, water, Coca-Cola, and spray paint.  Tougaloo professor John Salter (left) is covered in condiments and blood.  He had been hit with brass knuckles.
The all-white police force allowed several hundred people to torment them before arresting the protesters.  

Sit-in at the Woolworths lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi, 1963

Annie Moody (far right) was a student at Tougaloo College in Jackson. Mustard and ketchup drip off her forehead. Joan Trumpauer (center), also a student at Tougaloo, had been doused with mustard, ketchup, water, Coca-Cola, and spray paint.  Tougaloo professor John Salter (left) is covered in condiments and blood.  He had been hit with brass knuckles.

The all-white police force allowed several hundred people to torment them before arresting the protesters.  


Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, 1961.

Joan, a 19 year old Freedom Rider, was sentenced to two months in prison for her involvement in the integration of a Jackson, Mississippi bound train.  She served more than the required two months because each addition day reduced her $200 fine by $3.

In the Fall of 1961, Joan transferred from Duke University to historically black Tougaloo Southern Christian College because she felt integration should be a two way street.  

Today Joan is a retired teaching assistant living in Virginia and mother to five sons.  After the 2008 election she brought her Obama pin to the grave of Medgar Evers.  

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, 1961.

Joan, a 19 year old Freedom Rider, was sentenced to two months in prison for her involvement in the integration of a Jackson, Mississippi bound train.  She served more than the required two months because each addition day reduced her $200 fine by $3.

In the Fall of 1961, Joan transferred from Duke University to historically black Tougaloo Southern Christian College because she felt integration should be a two way street. 

Today Joan is a retired teaching assistant living in Virginia and mother to five sons.  After the 2008 election she brought her Obama pin to the grave of Medgar Evers.