The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland


What’s right and what’s easy are rarely the same thing.

“An Ordinary Hero” is the amazing true story of one woman’s courage to help change the world. By the time she was 19 years old, legendary Civil Rights Activists, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland participated in over three dozen sit-ins and protests she was put on death row in Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Penitentiary with other Freedom Riders. She was involved in one of the most famous and violent sit-ins of the Movement at the Jackson Woolworth lunch counter and helped plan and organize the March on Washington.

For her actions she was disowned by her family, attacked, shot at, cursed at, and hunted down by the 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, and Harry Belafonte, to name a few. 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 Joan’s courage and fortitude in the Movement is highly regarded and recognized. She has been written about in several books including “Coming of Age in Mississippi”, “Breach of Peace”, and “We Shall Not Be Moved”. She has appeared on television and news programs like “Oprah” and “CBS Nightly News”. And her story and experiences were highlighted award-winning documentaries including “An Ordinary Hero”, PBS’s “Freedom Riders”, “Standing on My Sister’s Shoulders” and the groundbreaking film “Eyes on the Prize”.

She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work in the Civil Rights Movement. Most recently she was recognized, along with other female Freedom Riders, by President Barack Obama, received Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.’s Annual Award of Honor, and the Anti-Defamation League Annual Heroes Against Hate Award.

"I saw something was wrong and decided to do something about it."
- Joan Trumpauer Mulholland


“An Ordinary Hero” isn’t just an award-winning film it’s an experience and opportunity to reach out and share not only the remarkable untold story of Civil Rights Legend, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland but also to inspire a new generation to go out and make life better.

Our collective history of exercising our democratic rights is not being taught. The courage to choose your convictions and stand up for righteous principals is being lost. The belief that ordinary people can make a difference in our society is fading. We want to change that and we are through this film and the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation.



"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
- Fannie Lou Hamer


The Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that was established to help further educate the youth not only about the Civil Rights Movement but also empower them to make a positive change in their communities.

Help us accomplish our mission by donating to our foundation and share this remarkable story by sponsoring an event in your community.

We’re just getting started but over the next year we’ll be rolling out some helpful educational tools for teachers and students to engage in, establish a scholarship, create a travel museum exhibit and much more.



"Amazing, Powerful, Elegant, Poetic"
- Gregory Howard, Writer - "Remember the Titans"



Book: She Stood For Freedom

The award-winning film on the life of Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, is now is children’s book form. The picture book edition describes in an age-appropriate way how the America of Joan’s youth was torn by racial injustice. Through carefully crafted storytelling and the collage artwork of Charlotta Janssen, young readers will come to understand the struggle during the tumultuous era of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.


Book: She Stood For Freedom

This edition of “She Stood for Freedom” is for readers ages 8 and older using collage art and blends photographs from the period with the text, and features sidebar commentary from Joan, reflecting on those years. It also includes riveting primary source documents from Joan’s personal archives.


Documentary: An Ordinary Hero

Experience the award-winning film that will make you want to stand up and cheer. Relive some of the most pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement from the people who were there. Seen on PBS and screened by the Smithsonian Institution, and major universities and organizations throughout the country, “An Ordinary Hero” is the rare film that inspires people of all ages to want to go out and make life better.

“This film belongs alongside those of other freedom rights champions”
– National Civil Rights Museum
dvdcoverBuy Now


Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was a white teenager in the South during Segregation who put herself on the front lines of the Civil Rights struggle. Here you can purchases T-shirts with messages of inspiration, hope, and empowerment.

"The time is always right to do what is right."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Join us at one of our exciting events or contact us to find out how you can sponsor one in your community.

no event



"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi


Please feel free to contact us with any question, inquiry, comment, or to learn more about our foundation. We are always looking for opportunities to visit universities, organizations, and schools nationwide to further educate our youth and our communities.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Message

Contact Info


Arlington, VA

WordPress Video Lightbox