Illustrations from "She Stood For Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland"

The Hudson Milliner Art Salon
Jan 5, 2019 9:54PM

This series was developed as a collaboration by Charlotta Janssen and author, Loki Mulholland, for the children's book, She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. The original works of this series featured in the book focus on Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a white teenager in the south during segregation, who put herself on the front lines of the Civil Rights struggle. To accompany the text, Janssen used collage and photographs from the period.

She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland by Loki Mulholland and illustrated by Charlotta Janssen.

This is the first biography of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland's experiences, published simultaneously in a picture book and middle-grade edition, detailing the many events she participated in. She attended demonstrations and sit-ins and was one of the Freedom Riders in 1961 who was arrested and put on death row for months at the notorious Parchman Penitentiary.

The artwork includes riveting primary source documents from Joan's personal archives, like the letter sent to Joan's mother during Joan's arrest at Parchman Penitentiary. On official letterhead of the state, the warden exhibits the deep racism of the time by admonishing her mother for permitting a ''white minor girl to gang up with a bunch of Negro bucks and white hoodlums.'' This edition of She Stood for Freedom unforgettably and insightfully conveys the turmoil and tone of the Civil Rights era.

She was the first white person to join in the 1963 Woolworth's lunch counter sit-ins in Jackson, Mississippi, and that same year participated in the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King and the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965, which contributed to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act that year. Her willingness to stand up for justice has been an inspiration, ''Anyone can make a difference. It doesn't matter how old or young you are. Find a problem, get some friends together, and go fix it. Remember, you don't have to change the world... just change your world.''

Mulholland participating in a sit-in in Northern Virginia. (“An Ordinary Hero,” Dir. Loki Mulholland. Taylor Street Films, 2013)

About the Artist: Charlotta Janssen was born in Maine to German parents living in America under the Marshall plan. In 1973, Janssen's family moved to Iran, where they later fled during the revolution in 1979. Back in Germany, she studied painting at the University of Arts in Berlin from 1986-1989. Janssen later dropped out and traveled the world as a street musician and performance artist. In 1991, she picked up her brushes again and started organizing art shows wherever she traveled. In 1995 Janssen moved to New York. In 2000, she opened a restaurant to showcase her work in Brooklyn. In 2005, she started to narrow down her color spectrum to teal, white, black and rust and in 2009 she reintroduced collage and this element created a real conversation that keeps evolving.

Charlotta Janssen in her painting studio.

The Hudson Milliner Art Salon