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January 21, 2014

Civil rights activist shares personal story of determination

MILLEDGEVILLE —

A white southern civil rights activist, Joan Mulholland will share her unique story about her personal courage and determination to push for equality in the 1960s during a special screening event at Georgia College Thursday. 

“[Mulholland’s] visit is special to her because she had family grow up in Milledgeville, and they’re actually buried here. This is her first time back here since 50 years ago. When she first started out in her movement, she didn’t want to cause attention to her family,” said Jennifer Birch, coordinator of education and outreach for Diversity Programs and Services. “A lot of people didn’t appreciate her stance during that time, but as time has passed and things have changed, she’s coming back to see where her family grew up.”

As a young girl in Arlington, Va., Mulholland grew up in church and was taught the golden rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Despite being attacked by angry mobs, put on death row in the notorious Parchman Penitentiary and coming face-to-face with the KKK, she never wavered from her belief that we are all created equal.

Mulholland joined sit-ins in 1960 as a freshman at Duke University, the Freedom Rides and other movements pushing for equality. Her path has crossed with some of the biggest icons in the Civil Rights Movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Robert F. Kennedy, John Lewis, Diane Nash, John Salter, Harry Belafonte, Bob Moses and Anne Moody.

Mulholland is slated to bring her story of activism and personal responsibility to Georgia College Thursday in the Arts & Sciences Auditorium. Presented by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, a screening of the documentary “An Ordinary Hero: A Film and Discussion with Joan Mulholland” will begin at 2 p.m. Mulholland will speak and answer questions following the screening. Her documentary will also be available for purchase after the event.

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