Joan Mulholland Shares Story
On May 9 and 10, elementary students in all four schools met with Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a former Freedom Rider who is the inspiration for the children’s book, “She Stood for Freedom.” Ms. Mulholland read the book to the students and then answered their questions, shedding light on her incredible journey for which she was honored with the 2015 National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award.
The two-day visit was part of the Diversity Oversight Committee’s “Aspire to Inspire” speaker series and was generously sponsored by the Pelham Education Foundation.
“Ms. Mulholland’s vivid retelling of her story offered our students a powerful first-hand account of the civil rights movement, showing just how difficult it can be to achieve change,” said Dr. Maria Thompson, Director of Humanities and co-chair of the Diversity Oversight Committee. “Throughout this school year, we have been fortunate to bring in three true champions of diversity to speak with our students – a chess grand master, an esteemed scientist, and a civil rights hero. As a committee, we hope these speakers broadened our students’ understanding of diversity and the world in which they live. We are incredibly thankful to the Pelham Education Foundation for their support of the ‘Aspire to Inspire’ initiative.”
“Whenever possible, we strive to provide real-world connections for our students and to be able to hear directly from Ms. Mulholland was truly inspirational,” said PMHS Principal Jeannine Clark, who co-chairs the Diversity Oversight Committee. “Her story is one of persistence and perseverance and her fight is one that continues even now. On behalf of the teachers and students, we thank Ms. Mulholland for joining us and the PEF for sponsoring this effort.”
More on Joan Mulholland
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 Ku Klux 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 as well as former Pelham graduate, Michael Schwerner. 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.
Learn more about Joan Mulholland.