Sunday, August 23, 2015

What We're Writing — Inspired by Pauli Murray



SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: The Reverend Dr. Anna Pauline "Pauli" Murray (November 20, 1910 – July 1, 1985) was an American civil rights activist, a women's rights activist, a lawyer, and also an author. In addition, Dr. Murray was the first Black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest.

The young Pauli Murray, who graduated from Hunter College, worked with the NAACP, and was the first woman to graduate from Howard University's law school. She was a critic of "Jane Crow" — laws and prejudices against Black women. And Pauli Murray is the inspiration for the character Andi Martin in MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANT. 

The real Pauli Murray did have a friendship with Mrs. Roosevelt, and in 1941 tried to persuade the First Lady to intercede when a black man, Odell Waller, was sentenced to death for self-defense.


WUNC, the public radio station in Chapel Hill, North Caroline—Pauli Murray's home and base of Duke University's Pauli Murray Project—to the  has just done a wonderful piece on Pauli Murray, called "Imp, Crusader, and Dude: The Many Identities of Pauli Murray," written by Anita Rao and Frank Stasio: 


"Scholar and activist Pauli Murray grew up in Durham and was fundamentally shaped by its history and culture, and she left a lasting legacy on the city in return. 

Duke University’s Pauli Murray Project has been working to document this legacy and recently reached an important milestone: the project begins the restoration of Pauli Murray’s historic house in southwest Durham this summer.

Today they are also unveiling a new exhibit on view at The Scrap Exchange that features an intersectional look at Pauli’s many identities, from priest to crusader." 


Please give a listen and learn more about the amazing American Pauli Murray — a Black, queer, feminist hero, nearly erased from U.S. history.


16 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

It's interesting to learn about the inspiration for characters in stories and I particularly enjoy knowing about the real people that writers have chosen for this . . . thank you for sharing a bit of Pauli Murray's story.

Kathy Reel said...

Wow! What an amazing woman! What an amazing person! So accomplished, educated, and trail blazing. I'm so glad that you have based a character on her, Susan, and I'm happy to learn about her before reading the book, a book I am eagerly awaiting. Pauli Murray is now a piece of another piece of history that I've learned due to your wonderful series. Can't wait to see how it all comes together.

Reine said...

She was brave and brilliant.

Kait said...

Amazing story. and how wonderful that Pauli Murray's story is being rediscovered.

Hallie Ephron said...

Fascinating, Susan - thanks so much for sharing this.

FChurch said...

Kudos to Duke for the resurrection and to you, Susan, for sharing.

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Hello and thank you! Pauli Murray was also an author. She wrote Pauli Murray: The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest, and Poet and also Proud Shoes. I highly recommend!

Anonymous said...

Profile of courage or profile in courage ?

Bionic

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Thank you thank you..off to check it out.

Kaye Barley said...

Susan,
thank you for this.
I had not heard of this amazing woman, but happy to know of her now, and will read more - especially interested in reading the autobiography.

Rhys said...

I am in awe of someone who could achieve so much being both black and a woman at a time when both were supposed to be subordinate. Hooray for her. Thanks for sharing this, Susan and I hope you're feeling better

Deborah Crombie said...

Susan, thanks for this. I'm going to go read more about Pauli. What a remarkable person.

And I can't wait to read your book!!!!

Hope you're feeling better!

Katie Baer said...

Hi, Susan.

Thanks for bringing to wider attention the life of Pauli Murray. She was a remarkable woman--ahead of her time in so many ways. I first learned about her when I joined The Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church in Chapel Hill, NC. We are proud that Pauli is part of our history, as she celebrated in our chapel her first communion after her ordination. You might be interested in reading the sermon--Proud Shoes--given by Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal church, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Pauli's first celebration of the eucharist.
https://thechapelofthecross.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Pauli-Murray-30th-Anniv-Sermon-Schori.pdf

Katie

Denise Ann said...

Great post today about an important woman! Thank you.

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

It was really great to learn about Pauli Murray with Miss Edna, who also hadn't heard anything about her and was really intrigued/impressed. We read the books concurrently.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Susan, thanks so much for drawing me back to this post. I've been dealing with some organizational meltdown and off all my blogs. But Pauli Murray's one of my faves since learning about her in grad school in a seminar on women writers of color. I second your suggestion that everyone read her books! Thank you for a lovely respite in a much less than lovely week.