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Longtime Civil Rights Activist Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, March 10

'She is An Inspiration,' Says College of Public Affairs Faculty Member; Event Rescheduled Following February Snows

February 25, 2014
Contact: University Relations
Phone: 410.837.5739

Legendary civil rights activist Joan Trumpauer Mulholland will visit the University of Baltimore as part of the College of Public Affairs speaker series on Monday, March 10, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Hall in UB's Learning Commons, 1415 Maryland Ave. Mulholland will discuss her life as a white Southerner working to end racism and discrimination in the Jim Crow South. The event is free and open to the public, although advance registration via an R.S.V.P. on the University of Baltimore's official calendar is requested. Registration closes on March 6.

Note: This event was postponed from its original Feb. 13 date.

The evening will begin with a screening of An Ordinary Hero, a documentary about Mulholland's lifelong quest for racial justice. This award-winning film, which was recognized as one of the "Top Ten Inspirational Films of 2013" by Meridian Magazine, is directed by one of Mulholland's five sons, Loki Mulholland.

Following the screening, Mulholland will be interviewed by Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, author of the America in the King Years triology and leader of UB's Citizenship and Freedom course. Mulholland will share her personal experiences and observations from the front lines of the U.S civil rights movement.

A Freedom Rider who participated in the Jackson Woolworth sit-in and helped plan and organize the March on Washington, D.C., Mulholland had participated in more than 50 sit-ins and protests by the time she was 23. For her actions, Mulholland was disowned by her family, shot at and attacked, and targeted by the Ku Klux Klan for execution. Working alongside some of the biggest names in the civil rights movement—Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Robert F. Kennedy, John Lewis, Diane Nash, John Salter, and Harry Belafonte, to name a few—she drew on her faith and convictions to stay focused during difficult times.

"The worse they could have done was kill us," Mulholland has said. "Once you accept that … then there is nothing to worry about."

Tiffaney S. Parkman, lecturer in the University of Baltimore's College of Public Affairs and faculty sponsor for the event, shares an alma mater with Mulholland in Tougaloo College, which was well-known for being one of the few safe places in Mississippi where civil rights activists could meet without violent interference during this tumultuous time in American history.

"Joan's courage and fortitude in the movement is widely recognized and highly regarded," Parkman said. "She is an inspiration. So I wanted to bring her in to tell her story so that our students can be inspired by the example of how even young people can be major agents of positive change in their communities."

Mulholland's experiences have been featured in numerous books, including Growing Up in Mississippi, Breach of Peace, and We Shall Not Be Moved. She has appeared on television, in documentaries, and in programs including Oprah, the CBS Nightly News, PBS's Freedom Riders, Standing on My Sister's Shoulders, and the groundbreaking film Eyes on the Prize.

Mulholland 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 Barak Obama. She also received Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.'s Annual Award of Honor; and was honored with the Anti-Defamation League's annual "Heroes Against Hate" Award.

"The College of Public Affairs is extremely proud to host Joan Trumpauer Mulholland at the University of Baltimore," said Dean Stephen Percy. "It is a privilege to be able to learn firsthand about the extraordinary efforts of the Freedom Riders and others whose sacrifices have served, and continue to serve, to advance civil rights in the United States."

For more information about this event, call 410.837.5210.

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.