Pauli Murray

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I have accepted the challenge of being a Negro in America and of being an American first.

Pauli Murray (20 November 1910 – 1 July 1985) was an American civil rights activist, women's rights activist, lawyer, author, poet, educator and Episcopal priest.


  • I have accepted the challenge of being a Negro in America and of being an American first.
  • I want to be an American — without the hyphen.
    • Sadler, Betty (10 November 1967). "She Refuses To Leave Leadership To "Spoilers'". The State (Columbia, SC): p. 3−B. 
  • This society is not hospitable to persons of color, women or left-handed people.
    • Boodman, Sandra (28 February 1977). "A master of many trades". Washington Post (Washington DC). 

Quotes about Pauli Murray[edit]

  • We had been led to believe that American education is inferior. We have been impressed with American technology, however, and through your Constitutional law class—the first time we have ever been taught by an American—we have come to change our views. We used to accept without questioning whatever the lecturer said. Through your class we have learned to inquire.
    • Murray, Pauli (October, 1961). "On Teaching Constitutional Law In Ghana". Yale Law Report 8 (1).
  • I did go to Howard University, and that was where I was arrested for the first time. I went with two of my friends who were undergrad coeds, downtown in Washington, DC, which was about as segregated as anyplace in the United States at that time. I went to Howard in 1941. This was in '43 though, at the beginning of the year, I think. And we went to a drugstore that had a lunch counter-asked for some hot chocolate. We were told, "We don't serve Negroes." We said, "Well, we'd like to see the manager." "The manager isn't in." And we said, "Well, we have plenty of time. We'll just sit here." And finally they brought the hot chocolate, but they gave us tickets, bills for 25 cents, when it clearly stated on the board that hot chocolate was ten cents a cup, so that's what we put down. And I always like to say that's probably all we had anyway. But, then we walked out and were met by-my recollection is-seven of DC's finest, that is, the police. And they put us in the paddy wagon and took us to jail. After we had this incident, a woman who became a very dear friend, Pauli Murray, was there. She was about ten years older than us coeds. She was in law school, and she knew about CORE that had started. And we formed the Howard's—I think it was called "Civil Rights Committee" and actually opened up a restaurant on the edge of campus in one week, less than a week. I never had such a quick victory, never since that time. It was just a sort of a greasy spoon restaurant, but it was a heady victory for us. We had a picket line; we had a sit–in; lots of people agreed with us, and he capitulated. (By "opened up") I mean we desegregated it.


  • Murray, Pauli (1956). Proud Shoes: The Story Of An American Family, Harper & Brothers, New York. ISBN 0-8070-7209-5.
  • Rubin, Leslie and Pauli Murray (1961). The Constitution and Government of Ghana, Sweet & Maxwell, London. African Universities Press, 1964*Murray, Pauli (1970). Dark Testament and other poems, Silvermine, Norwalk, Connecticut, ISBN 978-0-87321-016-4
  • Murray, Pauli (1987). Song In A Weary Throat: An American Pilgrimage, Harper & Row, New York City. ISBN 0-06-015704-6.
republished (June 1989) as The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest and Poet (Paperback), University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 0-87049-596-8.
  • Murray, Pauli (Davison Douglas, ed., 2d ed. 1997). States' Law on Race and Color, University of Georgia Press. ISBN 978-0-8203-1883-7

External links[edit]

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