Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1925-1993: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook

By Karlyn Kohrs Campbell | Go to book overview

PAULI MURRAY

( 1910-1985), activist for human liberation

SONJA K. FOSS

"With humility but with pride I shall offer one small life . . . for whatever it is worth, to fulfill the prophecy that all men [sic] are created equal" ( "An American Credo,"24), wrote Pauli Murray in 1945. For the next four decades, she offered her life in the service of human liberation as a civil rights and feminist activist, educator, lawyer, writer, and Episcopal priest.


BACKGROUND

Born on November 20, 1910, Murray grew up in Durham, North Carolina, in the care of her maternal grandparents, after she was effectively orphaned at the age of 3 by the death of her mother and her father's inability to care for his six children. She was descended from both slave and slave owner. Her grandfather was the son of a half-Irish mulatto slave who had been given his freedom; her grandmother was the daughter of a part-Cherokee slave and the white man who had raped her.

Murray attended Hunter College in New York City, where she majored in English and planned to become a writer. Graduating in 1933 during the Depression, she was able to secure employment under the Works Progress Administration (EPA), teaching in its Remedial Reading Project and Workers' Education Project. Her experience on public assistance was the impetus for the development of a lifelong friendship with ELEANOR ROOSEVELT. In 1938 Murray wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Herald Tribune, describing the experience of applying for public assistance, and sent a copy to Roosevelt, initiating a correspondence between them. The two met for the first time in 1940, when Murray, as executive secretary of the annual National Sharecroppers Week, an observance designed to focus attention on the plight of sharecroppers in the South, arranged for Roosevelt to be a banquet speaker. For the next

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Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1925-1993: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Ti-Grace Atkinson 1
  • Emily Greene Balch 25
  • Clare Boothe Luce 40
  • Rachel Louise Carson 72
  • Margaret Chase Smith 90
  • Mary Daly 120
  • Jessie Daniel Ames 134
  • Andrea Dworkin 175
  • Geraldine Ann Ferraro 190
  • Helen Gahagan Douglas (1900-1980), Member of Congress, Defender of Liberal Democratic Principles, Advocate for Women's Equity 207
  • Margaret Higgins Sanger 238
  • Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968), Advocate for the Blind, Socialist, and Feminist 254
  • Aimee Kennedy Semple Mcpherson 273
  • Catharine A. Mackinnon 287
  • Robin Evonne Morgan 306
  • Pauli Murray 319
  • Leonora O'Reilly 331
  • Frances Perkins 345
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman 359
  • Anna Eleanor Roosevelt 379
  • Patricia Scott Schroeder 395
  • Phyllis Stewart Schlafly 409
  • Fannie Lou Townsend Hamer 424
  • Alyce Faye Wattleton 436
  • Ann Willis Richards 452
  • Martha Wright Griffiths 465
  • Index 477
  • About the Contributors 489
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