After spending decades fighting for gender equality and racial justice, Pauli Murray decided to unite her convictions for human rights with her religious spirtuality. In her early 60's, Pauli entered seminary and became the first Black woman ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1977. She brought to the priesthood the same power she'd carried as a firebrand all her life ― a power that is strengthened by women in the church today standing tall on Pauli's shoulders.
In 1948, Pauli Murray began a years-long journey, crossing the country to document each state's segregation laws. The exhaustive, 700-page tome, published in 1951, may have a pretty unexciting title — "States' Laws on Race and Color" — but its nickname is more glamorous: the "bible of civil rights law." Pauli's work documenting discriminatory ordinances across the country was pivotal to the NAACP's legal team as they fought key battles against segregation in the mid 20th century. But Murray's road to writing the bible was anything but easy, and she was often on the verge of having to forego the seminal project.
As a Black, queer, Southern woman, Pauli Murray endured a sinister combination of sexism and racism. She called this specific kind of discrimination Jane Crow, and no matter where Pauli went, Jane Crow followed. But Pauli refused to let that dictate her life. With the pen as her sword, Pauli fought to undermine Jane Crow's grip on the lives of Black women, wielding the written word as a weapon for truthtelling. (https://bcx-production-attachments-us-west-2.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/e8b65268-659e-11eb-92a8-a0369f082538?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAS5PME4CTW6V7VHG4&Expires=1612479122&Signature=5WypRWXyzbYtoWkw6PHcCk%2BNOhc%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3D%22PauliPodcastCover2v1.jpg%22%3B%20filename%2A%3DUTF-8%27%27PauliPodcastCover2v1.jpg&response-content-type=image%2Fjpeg)As a legal scholar, she inspired the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and helped secure equal rights for women. As poet, Murray has given hope and resilience to countless women of color ― offering messages of brave love and bold defiance that resonate today.