Jackson State University and Tougaloo College will host a series of events May 28 and May 29 commemorating the 1963 Woolworth sit-in — a galvanizing moment of the Civil Rights Movement.
Young activists, including Tougaloo College students, protested segregated seating on May 28, 1963, by refusing to leave the store’s lunch counter even as they were viciously attacked by a white mob. Jackson Daily News photographer Fred Blackwell took vivid images that helped draw a national spotlight to segregation to the South.
On May 28, Jackson State and Tougaloo College will hold a news conference after the 10 a.m. unveiling of a new Mississippi Freedom Trail Marker by the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division. The marker will be placed at the site of the old Woolworth store on Capitol St. Some participants of the sit-in, including Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, are expected to attend. A luncheon for invited guests will follow at Tougaloo College.
“Tougaloo College is proud to be once again at the forefront, honoring courageous men and women of the movement and embracing the college’s continued responsibility as a change agent to influence global democracy,” said Dr. Beverly Hogan, the college’s president.
Also on May 28, Jackson State will host a free, public reception at the Student Center at 6 p.m., before the viewing of the film, “An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland.”
“The fearless students and activists of the 1960s are to always be commended for the sacrifices they made for the sake of equality. Their story is rich and full of lessons that should not be overlooked by today’s youth,” said Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers, president of Jackson State.
On Wednesday, May 29, Tougaloo College will host “A Conversation with Joan Trumpauer Mulholland – Coming Full Circle” at 10 a.m. in the Bennie G. Thompson Academic and Civil Rights Research Center. Mulholland and others involved in the movement will discuss how the lessons learned a half century ago can be applied toward current civil and human rights issues.
“Segregation was unfair. It was wrong, morally, religiously. As a Southerner — a white Southerner — I felt that we should do what we could to make the South better and to rid ourselves of this evil. While much work is still to be done, I am glad that we are at a point in history when we can come together to honor these past efforts,”said Mulholland.
The Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation, the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State, the Mississippi Development Authority-Tourism Division, and the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau all joined in the effort to bring to Jackson the participants and supporters of the Woolworth’s sit-in, other activists, and their family members in order to honor the veterans of that historic civil rights struggle.