- Sunday | February 27, 2022 to Saturday | March 5, 2022
- 12:00 am
- Online event sponsored by South Arts in collaboration with Clemson University
| Cost: Free | Registration Required
Originally scheduled to start Sunday Feb 20 this event has been rescheduled for Sunday, February 27 – Saturday, March 5. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Stay tuned after the screening for a conversation with the filmmakers!
This biographical documentary film debuted at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and is available online for free (Feb 20 – 23, 2022) through a collaboration between South Arts and Clemson University.
It takes a look at the life and ideas of Pauli Murray, black lawyer, activist, poet and priest who influenced both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall.
Told largely in Pauli’s own words, My Name is Pauli Murray is a candid recounting of her unique and extraordinary journey. Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat, a full decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned separate-but-equal legislation, Pauli Murray was already knee-deep fighting for social justice. A pioneering attorney, activist and dedicated memoirist, Murray shaped landmark litigation—and consciousness— around race and gender equity.
“One person plus one typewriter constitutes a movement.”
“Black women, historically, have been doubly victimized by the twin immoralities of Jim Crow and Jane Crow. … Black women, faced with these dual barriers, have often found that sex bias is more formidable than racial bias.”
“It had taken me almost a lifetime to discover that true emancipation lies in the acceptance of the whole past, in deriving strength from all my roots, in facing up to the degradation as well as the dignity of my ancestors.”
“What is often called exceptional ability is nothing more than persistent endeavor.”
“I’ve lived to see my lost causes found.”
1910 Born in Baltimore, Maryland to Agnes Fitzgerald and William Murray.
1914 Moved to Durham to live with grandparents and her aunt after whom she was named, Pauline Fitzgerald Dame. Pauli’s mother had died and her father was unable to take care of the children.
1926 Murray graduates high school at the head of her class and attends a New York City school in order to meet entrance requirements at Hunter College
1933 Graduates from Hunter College and works for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Workers Defense League and the NYC Remedial Reading Project.
1938 Murray’s application to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate school rejected due to her race. Writes a letters to the Chancellor, and President Roosevelt and sends a copy to the First Lady.
1940 She is arrested and jailed for protesting Virginia law requiring segregation on buses.
1941 Enters Howard Law School and encounters sex discrimination from faculty and students.
1944 Graduates from Howard Law School first in her class (and the only female). Applies for admission to Harvard Law School’s graduate program but is rejected because of her gender. Enrolls at University of California’s Boalt Hall Law School.
1951 Writes the States’ Laws on Race and Color for the Women’s Division of the Methodist Church, the “bible” for civil rights lawyers.
1960 Travels to Ghana and teaches at the Ghana School of Law in Accra.
1961 John F. Kennedy appoints Murray to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) Committee on Civil and Political rights.
1964 Murray co-authors Jane Crow and the Law: Sex discrimination and Title VII, in which she draws parallels between sex-based discrimination with Jim Crow laws.
1965 Murray receives a J.S.D from Yale, the first African-American to receive this degree.
1966 Along with Betty Friedan and thirty others, founds the National Organization for Women (NOW).
1977 Pauli Murray becomes the first African-American female priest to be ordained by the Episcopal Church.
1985 Pauli Murray dies of pancreatic cancer in Pittsburgh, PA.
2012 Murray elevated to sainthood by the Episcopal Church
Hope is a song in a weary throat.
It was never hardship which hurt so much as the contrast between what we had and what the white children had.
It seemed as if there were only two kinds of people in the world – They and We – White and Colored. … It pervaded the air I breathed. I learned it in hundreds of ways.
I wondered why some people were called white and some called colored when there were so many colors and you couldn’t tell where one left off and the other began. Some folks were Aunt Pauline’s color – strawberries and cream – and some were like licorice. Some were cream chocolate and some were dark chocolate. Some were caramel and some were peanut butter. Some were like molasses taffy after it has been pulled awhile and some were like gingerbread. I’d heard somebody say colored people were like a flower garden but I thought they were more like good things to eat.
There was pride on both sides of the Fitzgerald family, but my greatest inheritance, perhaps, was dogged persistence, a granite quality of endurance in the face of calamity.
One person plus one typewriter constitutes a movement.
What is often called exceptional ability is nothing more than persistent endeavor.
Black women, historically, have been doubly victimized by the twin immoralities of Jim Crow and Jane Crow. … Black women, faced with these dual barriers, have often found that sex bias is more formidable than racial bias.
I’ve lived to see my lost causes found.
It had taken me almost a lifetime to discover that true emancipation lies in the acceptance of the whole past, in deriving strength from all my roots, in facing up to the degradation as well as the dignity of my ancestors.
About Pauli Murray: It may be that when historians look back on 20th century America, all roads will lead to Pauli Murray . . . civil rights, feminism, religion, literature, law, sexuality – no matter what the subject, there is Pauli. – Susan Ware, Historian
*Bell-Scott, Patricia. The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice. 2016.
*Rosenberg, Rosalind. Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray. 2017.
Murray, Pauli. Pauli Murray: The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest, and Poet. 1989. (Originally published: Song in a Weary Throat. Harper & Row, 1987)
Murray, Pauli. Dark Testament and other poems.1970.
Murray, Pauli. Proud Shoes: The Story of An American Family. 1956.
Murray, Pauli, compiled and edited: States’ Laws on Race and Color 2016 edition. This remarkable, hard-to-find resource is an exhaustive compilation of state laws and local ordinances in effect in 1950 that mandated racial segregation and of pre-Brown-era civil rights legislation republished in 2016 by University of Georgia Press. (available through Interlibrary loan.)
*Available in Greenville County Library System