Black History Month: Pauli Murray

Charlotte Pride is celebrating Black History Month with special highlights every Tuesday and Thursday, profiling Black LGBTQ change-makers and history with a special connection to Charlotte and the Carolinas. Our profiles will include history-makers from decades past, as well as those heroes living and making their mark in our own time.

Today, we’re devoting our entire post to a faith movement hero and revolutionary…

Pauli Murray

Many people don’t know who Pauli Murray is, but if their name sounds familiar, it’s likely because you’ve seen all the buzz lately around a new documentary on Murrary’s life and legacy. The documentary, My Name is Pauli Murray, premiered Jan. 21, 2021, at Sundance Film Festival. You may have also seen Murray’s name honored in the name for North Carolina’s new LGBTQ legal association, the Pauli Murray LGBTQ Bar Association. And, if you live in Durham, you’re more likely to know Murray from the work of Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, which is working to preserve Murray’s legacy and her childhood home in the Bull City.

Some quick facts about Pauli Murray:

  • Born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1910
  • Raised in Durham, N.C.
  • Civil rights leader
  • Attempted to attend the all-white UNC Chapel Hill for graduate school in 1938
  • A lifelong friend of Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Worked (alongside the likes of Bayard Rustin and others) to form the Congress of Racial Equity (CORE)
  • A co-founder of the National Organization for Women
  • First African-American woman to become an Episcopalian priest

These are just a few of the many lifelong achievements and accomplishments of this fascinating historical figure. Honestly, a short blog post would never do justice to the life and legacy of Pauli Murray.

Check out a full and complete biota the Murray Center. And, be sure to check out this article from the Center on Murray’s gender identity and pronouns.

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