Home of Civil Rights Pioneer Pauli Murray Designated a “National Treasure”

The National Trust for Historical Preservation has designated the childhood home of Pauli Murray in Durham, North Carolina, a “National Treasure.”

murray3A native of Baltimore, Pauli Murray was orphaned at age 13. She went to Durham, North Carolina to live with an aunt. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she enrolled in Hunter College in New York City. She was forced to drop out of school at the onset of the Great Depression. In 1938, she mounted an unsuccessful legal effort to gain admission to the all-white University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1940, 15 years earlier than Rosa Parks, Murray was arrested for refusing to sit in the back of a bus in Virginia.

PMC-House-SignMurray enrolled at the Howard University in 1941 and earned her degree in 1944. She later graduated from the Boalt Hall Law School at the University of California at Berkeley. She became a leader of the civil rights movement and was critical of its leadership for not including more women in their ranks.

The Pauli Murray Project at Duke University has been working to restore the home and the federal designation may help secure additional funds for this purpose. The group hopes to make the home into a museum.

In 1977, Murray, at the age of 66, was ordained a priest of the Episcopal Church. She died in Pittsburgh in 1985 after suffering from cancer.

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