They say pictures speak a thousand words, this picture here of a Joan Trumpauer Mulholland speaks volumes.
An unsuspecting hero she was on the frontlines of the civil rights movements. Marching hand and hand with blacks into the battleground.
Fearless, although not only her life, but the lives of those she marched with were at even greater stake. Whites of that day did not look upon it favorably for a white girl to be marching in support of blacks. It was taboo as the order of the day was discrimination and inhumane treatment of minorities.
She was at the forefront of the movement marching and being arrested with the likes of Stokely Carmichael, a huge revolutionary.
Many whites around her branded her as mentally ill because, my goodness what else must it be with this white girl looking out for her fellow man.
And for those minorities who sat along her and marched along her as if being black was not threat enough, befriending a white posed an even greater threat.
Her story is remarkable because she was an anomaly. Even being cordial to blacks was unacceptable much less helping fight their cause.
This brings us to exactly why Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was exceptional. All civil rights activists are incredible, but the black activists clearly had something to fight for. Their rights and the injustices they endured day in and day out that directly impacted them. This was certainly worthy of a good fight. It was a daily ever present hardship for blacks during this era of social unrest. And unfortunately we’ve come along, but still so far to go. Too much unrest still at the hands of cops and “Karens.” The racist policing continues by cops and citizens needing to police even all of these decades later.
While things have certainly changed, we know all too well that discrimination lives among us still today and unfortunately even thrives.
Just recently – a pair of troopers are being investigated for over-reaching force that leaves little doubt that it was based in racial bias. Harassing a black army lieutenant in the most egregious manner. He is now suing, rightfully so.
However for a white woman who had everything to lose out of retaliation and one who knew nothing of discrimination – she was fighting for others. This cause did not impact her life. She could’ve been complacent like most other whites, but she knew it was wrong. Deep down inside the injustice of it and this heart centered knowing are what lead her to fight. It was not her fight, but she took it on corageously and bravely.
And for this she is a true hero. We all can fight our fight, but when we put ourselves in danger to fight someone else’s fight we are in a whole different league.
Yes there are so many people of all ethnicities including more whites than we’ve ever seen before protesting racism today. However Joan was doing it decades ago when no other whites were doing it or very few.
She had been one of the freedom riders who was arrested. She was even sent off to jail to Maximum security unit of the Mississippi State Penitentiary for two months.
She was a bible loving, god fearing, church girl and the stories in the bible did not jive with how the so-called white Christians of the day treated non-whites. Something was clearly a miss and she wasn’t having it.
To better understand the profound work and history of the Freedom Riders, exactly what they did and the impact of their dedication to equality click here.
Her grandparents were slave owners. While she did not witness this the idea of enraged her and set her on a path to activism and calling out for justice.
So she took the streets time and time again standing hand and hand with blacks at the forefront of injustice and eminent danger. She was a target of hate and she endured nonetheless. Even the Klan was after her at one point.
That mugshot of hers has gone pretty viral and it shows us a beautiful woman full of conviction and courage and for this we hail this brave warrior a true hero.
Joan went on to teach ESL as a continued symbol of her fight for equal rights of others.
The work of Joan Trumpauer does not end there. She later founded the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation, dedicated to educating youth about the Civil Rights Movement and how to engage in activism in their own communities.