Public Invited to a Conversation with Civil Rights Legend

The public is invited to participate in a conversation with legendary civil rights activist and Arlington resident Joan Trumpauer Mulholland at noon on Wednesday, March 2 at Marymount University’s Gerard Dining Hall. The event will include a talk, clips from the documentary “An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland” and a question-and-answer session.

Raised in Arlington, by the time Mulholland was 19, she had participated in more than three dozen sit-ins and protests. She was housed on death row in Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Penitentiary with other Freedom Riders. She was also involved in one of the most famous and violent sit-ins at the Jackson Woolworth lunch counter and helped plan and organize the March on Washington.

“When I was 19 my big worry was finding a date for a fraternity dance,” said Dr. Mark Benbow, an assistant professor of history and politics at Marymount. “When she was that age she was facing down the Klan. She’s a great speaker and I hope she’ll inspire some of my students to be more politically aware and active.”

Because of her activism, Mulholland was disowned by her family and targeted for execution by the Ku Klux Klan. She crossed paths with some of the biggest names in the Civil Rights Movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Robert Kennedy and John Lewis. She has been written about in several books and has appeared on Oprah, CBS Nightly News and other television shows. Her experiences have been highlighted in award-winning documentaries like PBS’s “Freedom Riders” and the film “Eyes on the Prize.”

The 2016 American Heritage Conversation is sponsored by Marymount’s Department of History and Politics.