Pauli Murray

Nov 20, 1910 - Jul 1, 1985

Anna Pauline "Pauli" Murray was an American civil rights activist who became a lawyer, women's rights activist, Episcopal priest, and author. Drawn to the ministry in 1977, Murray was the first African-American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest, in the first year that any women were ordained by that church.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Murray was virtually orphaned when young, and she was raised mostly by her maternal grandparents in Durham, North Carolina. At the age of 16, she moved to New York City to attend Hunter College, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1933. In 1940, Murray sat in the whites-only section of a Virginia bus with a friend, and they were arrested for violating state segregation laws. This incident, and her subsequent involvement with the socialist Workers' Defense League, led her to pursue her career goal of working as a civil rights lawyer. She enrolled in the law school at Howard University, where she was the only woman in her class. Murray graduated first in her class, but she was denied the chance to do post-graduate work at Harvard University because of her gender.
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“What is often called exceptional ability is nothing more than persistent endeavor.”

Pauli Murray
Nov 20, 1910 - Jul 1, 1985
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