Biography

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Freedom Rider Washington, DC

A 19-year-old Duke University student and part-time secretary in the Washington office of Senator Clair Engle of California, Joan Trumpauer arrived in Jackson, MS by train from New Orleans, LA as part of the June 4, 1961 Mississippi Freedom Ride.

The group was promptly ushered by Jackson police to a waiting paddy wagon; all nine Riders refused bail. Trumpauer was transferred to Parchman State Prison Farm.

In her interview for Freedom Riders, she recalls the harrowing conditions at Parchman, which included forced vaginal examinations used as a tactic to humiliate and terrorize female prisoners.

After the Freedom Rides, Trumpauer studied at Tougaloo College and was a Freedom Summer organizer in 1964. She later worked at the Smithsonian with the Community Relations Service and at the Departments of Commerce and Justice before teaching English as a second language at an Arlington, VA elementary school.

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