Pauli Murray Center


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The Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice is scheduled to open to the public in 2020. You can help us make this dream a reality.

Please help to save one of Durham’s most important historical landmarks, Pauli Murray’s family home at 906 Carroll Street in Durham NC. Read more about this effort.

BIG NEWS – Pauli Murray Family Home Named National Historic Landmark.

 

Recent Milestones

  • 2017 – Designated NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK by the Department of the Interior/National Park Service
  • 2015 – Named a “NATIONAL TREASURE” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • 2015 – New Partnership with Iron Mountain to preserve the house and make Pauli’s story accessible to a wide audience

Department of the Interior Press Release

“The Pauli Murray Family Home in Durham, North Carolina, is associated with ground-breaking civil rights activist, lawyer, educator, writer, and Episcopal priest Pauli Murray. She served as a bridge figure between social movements through her advocacy for both women’s and civil rights. Her efforts were critical to retaining “sex” in Title VII, a fundamental legal protection for women against employment discrimination. After decades of work for black civil rights, her vision for a civil rights association for women became the National Organization for Women (NOW).”

Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

“Pauli Murray was an accomplished human rights activist, historian, attorney, poet, and teacher who believed in justice, reconciliation, and freedom. And yet her deep and far-reaching legacy has been mostly obscured and unheralded. Honoring her childhood home as a National Historic Landmark is a vital step toward ensuring her many contributions are never forgotten. This recognition will energize our efforts to reopen the home as a center for history and social justice and bring greater attention to Pauli Murray’s legal scholarship and activism against discrimination.”

Mayme Webb-Bledsoe, board chair of the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice

“We are thrilled to be named a National Historic Landmark and this designation recognizes Pauli Murray as the nationally significant human rights champion she was. Our goal is a visitor ready historic site in 2020 focused on history, arts, education and activism, where learning and thoughtful discussion that advances Pauli’s vision for an inclusive America takes place.”

Barbara Lau director of the Pauli Murray Project/DHRC @ FHI and board member of the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice

“The National Historic Landmark designation sparks support for our work to connect histories of women, African Americans and LGBTQ folk that are often invisible with activism focused on today’s issues of justice and equity. We want to positively impact the community and nurture the next generation of Pauli Murrays.”

The home was built in 1898 by  Murray’s grandfather Robert Fitzgerald, was a black man and Civil War veteran. He came south to teach newly emancipated African Americans reading, writing and citizenship. “To his family, it [the house he built at 906 Carroll Street in the 1890s] was more than a home; it was a monument to Grandfather’s courage and tenacity,” Murray wrote in her 1956 memoir, Proud Shoes: The Story of An American Family. Robbed of his sight by injuries from the War, Fitzgerald supervised the laying of each board, brick and shingle by touch. “It was as if he had built himself into the structure, for it had his stubborn character.”

Every donation big or small buys bricks and mortar, and the masons, carpenters and restoration specialists who can get the job done.  Water is a powerful force but the collective efforts of our community are greater!

In Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family, Pauli Murray shares the words of her grandmother, Cornelia Smith Fitzgerald, who had planted a young orchard on the property: “I won’t be here when these bear fruit, child, but they’re for your time.”The Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray may not be here to see her amazing work come to fruition, but we can be certain that the seeds she sowed were for our time.

Your investment in the restoration of the house of our hometown sister is an investment in honoring Durham’s past and Pauli Murray’s legacy, healing us in the present, and sowing seeds that will bear beautiful fruit in the future.