What is often called exceptional ability is nothing more than persistent endeavor
Pauli Murray studied English Literature at Hunter College while working as a teacher for the Work Projects Administration in New York. A prolific writer, many of her works about the Black American experience were published in Common Sense and the Crisis, magazine of the NAACP. Working to end segregation, she was imprisoned in 1940 for refusing to sit at the back of a bus. Her reaction was to form CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality with some of her peers. Another initiative was apply to the all-white (at the time) University of North Carolina graduate school to bring attention to the civil rights issue of racial bias. She was not allowed to enroll and she matriculated at Howard University Law School, the only woman in all her classes.
She worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, preparing legal briefs concerning civil rights. Having endured both racism and sexism she coined the term “Jane Crow”. In 1977, Murray became the first African American person in the U.S. to become an Episcopal priest.
- Murray, “Proud Shoes: Story of an American Family”, 1956
- Murray, “The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest and Poet”, 1987