Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tougaloo College, MLK, and Courage
Earlier this week, one of Ta'Nehisi Coates' blog posts about courage and Civil Rights activists caught my attention. (Coates had gotten on the topic as a result of Rand Paul's troubling comments about civil rights). As a graduate of Tougaloo College in Mississippi, the accompanying image that Coates printed with his blog post, shown above, was quite familiar to me.
The photograph from 1963, taken by Fred Blackwell, shows two Tougaloo students and a professor trying to integrate a Woolworth's lunchcounter in Jackson, Mississippi, as they are enduring the taunts and torments of a group of angry white people.
The black woman at the end is Tougaloo student Anne Moody; the white woman with her head turned away is Tougaloo student, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland (Touglaoo is a black school, but numbers of progressive and activist-minded white students and professors journeyed South and attended or worked at schools like Tougaloo to assist with the Movement.)
The man (Native American) seated with the students was a Tougaloo professor, John Salter. As the image shows, these folks were being "doused with mustard, ketchup, water, Coca-Cola, spray paint and a bounty of insults." Actually, Salter "is covered in condiments and blood. He had been hit with brass knuckles."
Coates followed up his initial post on courage and posted an image on his blog of a 1960's mugshot of Mulholland. Interestingly, Mulholland's son, Loki Mulholland, sent Coates a thank you note, which Coates presented on his blog.
Loki Mulholland also sent along an image of his mother giving Martin Luther King, Jr. a tour of Tougaloo's campus.
Now, while I was a student at Tougaloo (1995-1999), I always heard stories about MLK coming on campus during the Civil Rights Movement. But today was the first time that I got a hold of this visual evidence of King's visit during the 1960s.
I'll reach out to some of my Tougaloo connects to see if they can identify any of the other folks in the photo and the exact spot on campus where the image was taken.