• To Buy the Sun: The Challenge of Pauli Murray

    April 10, 2018

    Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to stand, Pauli Murray refused to sit in the back of the bus. Twenty years before the Greensboro sit-ins, she organized restaurant sit-downs in the nation’s capital. Yet Murray was denied admission to the University of North Carolina because of her race and to Harvard Law because of her gender.

    Despite this systemic oppression, 123 years after her enslaved grandmother was baptized at the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, N.C., Pauli Murray returned as America’s first female African-American priest to celebrate her groundbreaking Communion there.

    A tireless champion of human rights, the author of what Thurgood Marshall called the “Bible for Civil Rights lawyers,” Pauli Murray’s struggles, insights, and achievements resonate powerfully in our times.  As Eleanor Holmes Norton said, Pauli Murray not only lived on the edge of history, she seemingly “pulled it along with her.”

    Come learn about her life and legacy in a new play, To Buy the Sun: The Challenge of Pauli Murray, which will be staged in Washington, DC and New Haven, Connecticut this month.

    Using archival images, three chairs, and a typewriter, performers will bring to life 60 characters, six decades, and two continents in this acting tour de force.

    Tickets are $15 and available online at the links below.

    To Buy the Sun is a collaborative effort of the Pauli Murray Project and Hidden Voices, a radically inclusive, participatory, and co-creative collective committed to creating just, compassionate, and sustainable relationships. Major sponsors for the spring 2018 tour of To Buy the Sun: The Challenge of Pauli Murray are Trinity Church Wall Street and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, LLC—the law firm that once employed her.

    The play is drawn from original works by Pauli Murray with permission of the Pauli Murray Foundation.

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Pauli Murray’s childhood home in Durham, N.C. a National Treasure in 2015. Visit savingplaces.org to learn more about the efforts by the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice to convert the Pauli Murray home into a public resource for educating and inspiriting future generations of leaders, doers, and big thinkers.

  • New Interactive Exhibition Chronicles Pauli Murray's Life

    February 26, 2018

    On March 1, The Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center/FHI and the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice are hosting an opening reception for Pauli Murray: Imp, Crusader, Dude, Priest.

    Hosted by Trinity Church Wall Street, the interactive exhibit chronicles Pauli Murray's life and legacy as a brilliant 20th century human rights activist, educator, lawyer, poet and Episcopal priest. The exhibit explores Murray's multifaceted identity and how she aspired to an integrated body, mind and spirit and a life of purpose—helping transform American society in the process. The exhibit is presented alongside self portraits from students at Leadership and Public Service High School in New York.

    The exhibit runs until March 21, 2018 and is located at St. Paul's Chapel, Trinity Wall Street, 209 Broadway (at Fulton), New York, NY 10007. All are welcome to attend.

  • Pauli Murray: Giving an Unsung Hero her Due

    April 2, 2017

    Saturday April 1 was a glorious day in Durham as the long-held vision of seeing Pauli Murray’s family home crowned a National Historic Landmark was realized.

    400 people from far and wide joined a “Homecoming” event to celebrate the National Park Service’s plaque dedication, officially bestowing the nation’s highest preservation honor upon the home. Poetry, singing, art making, and stirring remarks about Pauli Murray's vision for justice helped commemorate her life and legacy on a most memorable day. Attendees included representatives from U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield's office, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, the Durham County Commissioners, NAACP, NOW, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

    Rosita Stevens-Holsey also attended the ceremony, representing the Murray side of the family, and offered these words about her aunt’s vision:

    “Pauli was determined the future would not be the past — for women, for blacks, for the forgotten and overlooked,” she said. Stevens-Holsey said that while Murray was a deep thinker and serious person, she also had a lighter side and sense of humor.

    “She was a fortress and a guiding light for others,” Stevens-Holsey said. “I am so grateful to know Aunt Pauli is no longer an unsung hero.”

    The crowd was invited into the house for the first time to engage with new exhibits and to check out the renovation plans for the interior of the home. Fundraising efforts continue in earnest for the Pauli Murray Project, which endeavors to open the home to the public as a social justice and history center in 2020.

  • "Homecoming" Celebration for Pauli Murray House's National Historic Landmark Designation

    March 27, 2017

    photo by: Pauli Murray Project

    We are thrilled that on April 1, 2017, we will join our partners in the Pauli Murray House National Treasure campaign to celebrate its designation as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) by the National Park Service. Events will include the NHL plaque ceremony, a community party, exhibits, arts activities, walking tours, and more.

    We invite everyone in the Durham area to join us from Noon - 5 pm at 906 Carroll St. and help us show our appreciation for the life and work of Pauli Murray. If you can attend, it'd be helpful to RSVP via this link so we know how many folks are coming out! We hope to see you there.

  • Pauli Murray House Receives $237K Grant for Interior Rehabilitation

    January 23, 2017

    More good news! National Park Service recently announced that the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice is one of the awardees of its National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grant Program! Our partner, the Pauli Murray Project will use a $237,575 grant to rehabilitate the interior of Pauli Murray’s childhood home in Durham, N.C. This vital funding will make it possible for the home of this extraordinary scholar, author, activist, priest and attorney to reopen a modern center for history and social justice in 2020.

    "Through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program, we're helping our public and private partners tell unique and powerful stories of the African American struggle for equality in the 20th Century," said National Park Service Acting Director Michael Reynolds.

    Other recipients include an initiative to bring preservation training to Birmingham’s A.G. Gaston Motel and a GIS mapping project related to Rosenwald Schools, two other National Treasure campaigns.

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