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No Ordinary Documentarian

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, subject of her son Loki's documentary, No Ordinary Hero.
Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, subject of her son Loki’s documentary, No Ordinary Hero.

Loki Mulholland rises to the occasion to share his mother’s story on film

By Jared Senseman, Junior, Meek School of Journalism and New Media


Loki Mulholland is helping his mother get the recognition she deserves.

An Ordinary Hero is Mulholland’s feature documentary about his mother, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a former civil rights activist and Freedom Rider. The film details the life, accomplishments, and unfortunate setbacks of his mother during the civil rights era. The film was awarded a Spirit of the Hoka award for best feature documentary Saturday night at the Oxford Film Festival, during a ceremony at the Lyric Theatre.

“It’s a tribute to my mother,” Loki said Sunday evening. “Her image of Ole Miss was of tear gas and James Meredith.”

Upon first glance, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, who now lives in the Washington, D.C. area, seems like any woman, despite her being quite the contrary. Her history is rich with protest for a cause she believed in, from participating in sit-ins in North Carolina, to enrolling as the first white student at Tougaloo College, one of Mississippi’s oldest historically black colleges, in Jackson.

She stated she liked Oxford and was glad her son’s film could be seen in Oxford 50 years after the 1962 riot surrounding the enrollment of James Meredith.

“I know 50 years is ancient history, but James Meredith is the image I have,” said Joan Mulholland. Regarding her son’s winning the award, she said, “I’m just really happy for him. He’s achieved his goal of making an inspirational film.”



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