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Lessons of civil rights brought to Atchison

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland answering questions from students at Atchison's Saint Benedict Catholic School on March 20, 2019/Credit: Brian Hagen/MSC News

(KAIR)--An activist of the civil rights movement visited Atchison last week, delivering her message to students prior to an evening presentation to the local community. “When you see a problem, get together with friends who agree with you it is a problem. Get a plan of action, include non-violence in your plan, and just get out there and change the world,” Joan Trumpauer Mulholland told students during her time in Atchison.

Trumpauer Mulholland was present at key events of the civil rights movement of the early 1960s, including the freedom rides, the Woolworths lunch counter protests, and the March on Washington.

On Wednesday, March 20th, Trumpauer Mulholland gave presentations to students at the Saint Benedict Catholic School, punctuated by video highlights of civil rights history. “The students are our future, so we’ve got to connect with them, and encourage them, and support them,” Trumpauer Mulholland said. She told MSC News that despite the successes made during the civil rights movement, the fight for racial equality is far from over. “We got rid of legal segregation, but we still have lots of discrimination and hatred, and we’ve got a long way to go.”

Trumpauer Mulholland works through her organization, the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation, to provide civil rights-based education and to encourage community activism.

Select students at Saint Benedict Catholic School, prior to Trumpauer Mulholland’s visit, engaged in a special project focused on the civil rights era.

School Principal Diane Liebsch told MSC News watching those lessons come to life through Trumpauer Mulholland’s presentation was a great educational experience for the students. “It’s been wonderful. Her piece of advice about how to solve problems was pretty great. It’s a piece of history that we really haven’t talked about much with our students in recent times and it’s important that they know the story.”

Following the morning presentations, Trumpauer Mulholland brought her message to the students of Atchison’s Maur Hill-Mount Academy during the afternoon, and then to the Atchison community during an evening presentation held at the Atchison Middle School.

The visit, and student project, was arranged through the efforts of local attorney, Kevin Hill, whose wife, Ellen, teaches 3rd grade at Saint Benedict Catholic School.

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