Summer in the City (of Durham)

September 2, 2015 by Karen Nickless

What did you do on your summer vacation? This has been a busy summer for the Pauli Murray House project. Barbara Lau, Executive Director of the Pauli Murray Center, and Karen Nickless, National Trust Project Manager for the Pauli Murray House Treasure, presented at the poster session at the Trust’s Rosenwald Schools Conference in Durham, June 17-19. Trust senior staff, in town for the Rosenwald Conference, took advantage of being in Durham to visit the Pauli Murray House on June 18. Even the sweltering heat did not dim the enthusiasm of Trust President Stephanie Meeks, Chief Preservation Officer David Brown, and Vice President for Eastern Field Offices John Hildreth on seeing the house. They toured the house with Barbara Lau and met with Mayme Webb-Bledsoe, Chair of the Center’s Board.

In July, The Trust awarded a $4500 Preservation Fund grant for a Historic Structures Report for the house and on August 21, Karen Nickless joined with Barbara Lau and other representatives of the Pauli Murray Center at a reception announcing a major gift and ongoing partnership with Iron Mountain. Approximately 300 people attended the reception, held at the Scrap Exchange in Durham, which featured the opening of the exhibit, “Imp, Crusader, Dude, Priest,” a traveling exhibit from the Levine Museum of the New South. The exhibit will run until December 12.

Work on the Pauli Murray House began in mid-August with the removal of the front porch roof and the first phase of removal of aluminum siding. Because of the new grants, the physical work on the house is beginning earlier than planned and moving at a faster pace.

Behind the scenes, Trust partner the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, has been given permission from the National Park Service (NPS) to submit a National Historic Landmark nomination for the Pauli Murray House. National Landmark status is the highest accolade NPS gives. A successful designation would indicate that NPS considers the Pauli Murray House to possess the nation’s highest level of significance.

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