Meeting Joan Traumpauer Mulholland- a freedom rider

Image of freedom riders on a busOften as a student affairs professional the work day rarely turns out as you expect.  March 4, 2013 was one of these types of days.  On this date I planned to use the morning to finalizing plans for an RA In-service, an on-going training workshop for our Resident Assistant Staff, and the afternoon to conduct one-on-one meetings with some of my staff members.  However, at around 9:30am I received a frantic call from an organization president of one of the organizations I advise.  I can say this is a typical occurrence from budding student leaders.  During the call I found out that the student who was responsible for retrieving Joan Traumpauer Mulholland, the speaker for a Women’s History Month program that evening, from the airport had now realized she had an appointment during that time.

In typical advisor mode I proceeded to suggest options the chapter president could pursue and asked her to contact me if she had any other concerns.  Whew- crisis adverted, right?  Wrong. The president contacted me about an hour later detailing all of the obstacles she had encountered which left me as her final option.  So, in an effort to support my students, and to prevent the university from gaining a bad reputation, I adjusted my schedule and retrieved Ms. Mulholland from the airport.  Which, I later found out would also include taking her to lunch and helping her to check-in to her hotel.

Image compilation of Joan and I am program

Images of Joan and I at the Women’s History Month kick-off event

While it was an unexpected change of plans that afternoon turned into one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  I was able to spend some quality one-on-one time with a woman who not only lived during the civil rights movement but was on the front lines as an activist.  During our conversations I learned of Joan’s challenges and her triumphs.  Joan spoke with me just like long time friend would do upon reuniting with a dear friend.  She talked to me about her most recent speaking engagements, her children, and her home in Arlington, Virgina.  Joan loves Arlington but is not a fan of the increased traffic.

One of the most interesting things Joan shared with me was of a long time tradition between her and her neighbors, over our course of dessert.  Each Sunday Joan and her neighbors would get together for a potluck dinner.  Each person would be responsible for providing one dish.  They would have so much food that each would be able to take home leftovers for the next day’s meal.  Joan mentioned these potlucks as an opportunity for her to stay connected and learn about the folks that live around her.   As she discussed the story I could not help but think of the many times I had heard Resident Assistant candidates proposition potlucks as a way to build diversity and cultural awareness.   Though Joan did not allude to potlucks as a way of building cultural awareness, she did display their usefulness in community development, something we Res Lifers value!

Image of the Woolworth sit in

Joan participating in the Woolworth sit in.

While Joan is most notably known for her acts as a Freedom Rider, during the evening program I learned that she participated in sit-ins, pickets, and other demonstrations.  She also insisted that she was nothing more than a college student, an ordinary person, exercising her right to associate and fight inequality.  As an affluent Caucasian American she was in the perfect position to spot and relay messages.  She also showed that integration was a two-way process by enrolling in the prominent Tougaloo College, which was older than the Jim Crow laws, and thus willing and able to accept her.  According to Joan, Tougaloo was the place that anybody who was somebody wanted to play/speak because of its location and protections.  While at Tougaloo Joan served as president of the civil rights organization and joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  Joan defines the civil rights movement as a student movement and once she left college, she left the movement.  Though, today she continues to speak about the civil rights era and her participation in the movement.

That day with Joan taught me not only to value interruption but also never to judge a book by its cover.  Joan’s lesson was simple- students and student leaders have the ability, and immense responsibility, to impact the world around them.  As educators and student affairs professionals was must remain vigilant in helping them to find both their voice and their passion.  We are also equipped with the skills to both challenge and support them through the process.  Just as Joan’s instructors did by providing her with the necessary support to complete her education while she was out fighting the good fight.

You can find out more about Joan Mulholland Trumpaurer at http://www.anordinaryhero.com/ Image of An Ordinary Hero documentary dvdor by purchasing the documentary about her story at Amazon.

Advertisements

Principle designer at Noelle Ivey Designs, graphic, print & social media design for @mrcbu & @buodei, and #PSPfit Admin. I am a creative being that loves to read, sometimes write, but always watch and listen! My heart cries out for peace, love, acceptance and service of others.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Social Justice, Student Affairs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,502 other followers

Follow me on Twitter
Instagram: @tbarnes41
Tis the season for scholarship, dress-up and gifting. Last night I had an amazing time with my sorors at @apalachinalumnaedst Give the Gift of Education Gala. Kudos to the planning committee, it was truly a beautiful event! Thanks to all of the Binghamton University students that attended, hope you enjoy your final exam gift. You got this! #DST1913 #RedAlert #MyBlackIsBeautiful #itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas
That time when you are featured on the news for being joyous, wild and free in your Ugly Sweater. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. #uglysweatercontest #WeAreBinghamton
A Queen, wild and free.
I woke with the urge to share, so here it goes! 🤷🏽‍♀️😚 • • My work home— @mrcbinghamton. I am indeed so proud of what you’ve become in such a short time. It’s only been a year and we’ve had thousands of visits, opened our prayer room, hosted a plethora of cultural organization programs, expanded our student employment opportunities, added collaborations with UCC and Fleishman, added electronic check-in, and so much more. • • Bing we’re open from 9am-12am for Final Exam Extended Hours, today through Dec. 14th— come study with us. 📝📚📓💯 • • And, to all my favorite MRC & Bing alumni, come back and visit. You will love this place. 😉💚 • #WeAreBinghamton #ForTheCulture
A little more knowledge to help your holiday be “inclusive” or well, less racist. 📸 📝: @rachel.cargle (link in her bio).
... Or well intentioned Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Sharing because I haven’t posted a resistence tool in a while and this just might save your Thanksgiving (National Day of Mourning) holiday gathering or the lives of BIPOC 🤷🏽‍♀️. ・・・ @nowhitesaviors: SWIPE RIGHT 👉🏾👉🏼👉🏿 We chose to ask this anonymously, the answers came flooding in & there have been so many powerful, important responses. 🌿 “Black, Indigenous and People of Color: What do white people need to know? What message would you like to send with total anonymity?” 🌿 We also discussed with a few of you that this could never really be a safe space for BIPOC. This platform has been focused on holding white folx and foreign nationals accountable for harmful actions in development work as well as providing anti-racism education. Truthfully? I don’t know that any predominately white space could feel safe for BIPOC - which is exactly why we chose to ask with the promise of keeping responses anonymous. 🌿 You must know this, if you are the white parents of an adopted BIPOC child; if you are the white partner of a BIPOC person; if you are white and have friends or family members who are BIPOC.... Really ask yourself this question: ARE YOU A SAFE PERSON FOR THEM? Because I promise you, regardless of how open you think your relationship is, there are things they do not feel like they can tell you. They are worried that you will use your good intentions as an excuse for the way you are *unintentionally* hurting them. 🌿 We have many people share things with us and ask to remain anonymous or for the conversation to be kept private. Some fear losing their jobs or having to cater to white feelings/tears. Others are just plain tired of having to try and justify their experience in this world. Then there are those of us living in fear for our lives or physical safety for speaking about such things. 🌿 #nowhitesaviors 📸: @nowhitesaviors
@dstinc1913: Our prayers and deepest condolences are with the family and loved ones of Soror Aisha Fraser Mason who recently lost her life due to a senseless act of violence. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or visit their website to chat online 24/7.
#LaterGram to that time I ran into @suezette during #CBCALC18. You have exuded #BlackGirlMagic since our days on BSU executive board at UF and continue to be one of my sheroes. Happy Birthday, Zette! I pray the Lord keeps shining his light on you for another 37 years and beyond. It’s a Tampa thang! #GoGators #TampaBay #Floridagirl
1. Last Thurs in Montego Bay, JA vs. 2. Today in Binghamton, NY. Take me back, Jamaica!!! #winterwonderland #itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas #Imissthesun
Return of the DynaSTy, Lambda Psi Spring 2003, celebrates 15 in Jamaica! Love my line sisters!!! God does marvelous tingz! #ROTD15 #DynaSTyruntingz #LovelyLambdaPsi #deltasigmatheta #UFAlumni #DST1913
Jamaica, mi luv yah like cook food! #ROTD15 #DynaSTyruntingz #DST #lovelylambdapsi
Now boarding, next stop 🇯🇲. Hardly home, but always reppin’! Can’t wait to see more of ROTD. #InternationalTB #jettsetter #vacayvibes
Archives
%d bloggers like this: