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Pauli Murray Center To Celebrate National Historic Landmark Designation

Pauli Murray Family Home

On April 1, 2017 from 1pm – 5pm the Pauli Murray Family Home at 906 Carroll Street, Durham will receive National Historic Landmark designation.

  • Learn More About History through our exhibitions
  • Be Inspired by poets, historic preservationists, and community leaders
  • Witness the National Historic Landmark plaque presentation
  • Meet Pauli Murray’s family members, your neighbors and friends
  • Appreciate Elected Officials Making Proclamations of Pauli Murray
    Family Home National Historic Landmark Day
  • Connect and get your book signed by author Patricia Bell-Scott,
    The Firebrand & the First Lady, Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray,
    Eleanor Roosevelt and the Struggle for Social Justice
  • Make Art for the Proud Shoes Labyrinth and Social Justice Clothesline
    Art Projects
  • Enjoy Refreshments and more!

All Free & Everyone Welcome

Pauli Murray was a champion for civil and human rights who grew up in Durham. Her insights and vision continue to resonate powerfully in our times.  As a historian, attorney, poet, activist, teacher and Episcopal priest, she worked throughout her life to address injustice, to give voice to the unheard, to educate, and to promote reconciliation between races and economic classes.  Her beautifully written memoir, Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family, was published in 1956. The book chronicles her roots and paints a compelling portrait of Durham during its formative years.

In 1960 Murray travelled to Ghana to explore her African cultural roots. When she returned President John F. Kennedy appointed her to his Committee on Civil and Political Rights. In the early 1960s Murray worked closely with Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King but was critical of the way that men dominated the leadership of these civil rights organizations. In August, 1963, she wrote to Randolph and pointed out that she had: “been increasingly perturbed over the blatant disparity between the major role which Negro women have played and are playing in the crucial grass-roots levels of our struggle and the minor role of leadership they have been assigned in the national policy-making decisions.”

In 1977 Murray became the first African American woman to become a Episcopal priest. Pauli Murray died of cancer in Pittsburgh on 1st July, 1985. Her autobiography Song in a Weary Throat: An American Pilgrimage was published posthumously in 1987. The book was re-released as Pauli Murray: The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest and Poet in 1987.

Since her death additional books have been published about her life and work, Anne Firor Scott’s Pauli Murray & Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White;  Anthony Pinn’s collection, Pauli Murray: Selected Sermons and Writings; Sarah Azaransky’s The Dream is Freedom: Pauli Murray and American Democratic Faith; Serena Mayeri’s Reasoning From Race; and Patricia Bell-Scott’s The Firebrand and the First Lady, Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice.

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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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