When she was just 19 years old, civil rights activist Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was sent to death row for two months — for joining the famous Freedom Rides across the Jim Crow South.
In 1961, she and a group of Freedom Riders were arrested in Mississippi for “disturbing the peace” and held at a maximum security prison.
There, Mulholland sat on death row before she was ultimately released. But despite the harrowing experience, she refused to abandon the civil rights movement.
Months later, she became the first white student to enroll in the historically Black Tougaloo College. While there, she met Martin Luther King Jr. and participated in sit-ins at segregated diners, where she endured abuse from countless white supremacists and segregationists.
Though Mulholland is now 79 years old, she has remained active in modern civil rights causes as much as she can. “I’m not marching anymore,” she said. “My knees have been operated on too much. But I can make signs. I can offer to put people up in my house.”