Landmark designation moves closer to reality; play depicting Pauli Murray's life opens in Durham

November 18, 2016 by Erica Stewart

Pauli Murray’s life story and legacy is shining bright these days—which is especially fitting as it would be her 106th birthday on Sunday, November 20.

On November 18, the National Park System Advisory Board voted to recommend to the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell that Pauli Murray’s Family Home in Durham, N.C. be named a National Historic Landmark (NHL).

According to the National Park Service website, “The Advisory Board includes citizens who are national and community leaders in the conservation of natural, historic, and cultural areas…In most cases, designation by the Secretary occurs six to eight weeks following the Advisory Board's recommendation.”

In the meantime, while we await good news about the NHL designation, a play depicting key chapters in Pauli Murray’s extraordinary life comes to the stage in Durham in early December.

From the Pauli Murray Project website:

“Using archival images, three chairs, and a typewriter, the performers bring to life 60 characters, six decades, and two continents in this acting tour de force.” The play, To Buy the Sun, “opens on the evening of February 12, 1977, the night before Pauli Murray’s historic appearance at The Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill. CBS’ Charles Kuralt and crew have been following Murray all day as part of their On the Road broadcast. Now, for the first time in decades, Pauli returns to the old family home place to reflect on the life and times of America and her place in its history, while she crafts the words she will speak tomorrow to the two million viewers. As Pauli Murray revisits old haunts and old friends, from Harlem to Harvard and Eleanor Roosevelt to Betty Friedan, the purpose of her life takes on a new and unexpected shape.”

We’ll be sure to update this page with news of the NHL designation and ways to support the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice.

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