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Pauli Murray

Pauli Murray (1910–1985)—an Episcopal priest, attorney, and civil rights activist—became an enduring voice for freedom and equal opportunity during her lifetime.

Portrait of Murray seated in front of a Magnolia tree
Portrait of Murray seated in front of a Magnolia tree, 1978. Pauli Murray Papers.

As an African American woman, Murray faced discrimination in education and employment and was arrested as early as 1940 for refusing to sit at the back of the bus. A founding member of the Congress of Racial Equality and the National Organization for Women, she was also a pioneer of African American genealogy. She briefly taught law at the University of Ghana. Her publications include collections of sermons and poetry, legal books and articles, and an autobiography. Murray counted Langston Hughes and Eleanor Roosevelt among her many correspondents.


01 / 07