Still Walking for Justice
The Pauli Murray Project organized Still Walking For Justice in November 2012 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, the “First Freedom Ride.” Nine teams of women walked from the Pauli Murray Historic Marker in Durham to the Journey of Reconciliation Marker in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The teams walked to honor the original freedom riders, and the efforts of nine equally extraordinary women who dedicated their lives to the principles of freedom, justice and equality. Three of the women, Pauli Murray, Ella Baker, and Juanita Nelson helped to plan the Journey of Reconciliation but were not able to participate because of their gender.
Organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Congress of Racial Equality, teams of black and white men set out on April 9, 1947 to test the recent Supreme Court decision Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia. The June 1946 ruling found that racial segregation on buses placed a burden on interstate commerce. To test the decision the men sat side-by-side in the white section of the buses as they traveled through Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. On April 13, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, one rider was attacked by a white mob and four others were arrested and sentenced to thirty days on a chain gang. One of these men, Bayard Rustin, wrote a moving account of his imprisonment that led to the abolishment of chain gangs in the state.
The exhibit and website were created by Duke University students Kelli Aibel, Ilana Bernstein, Chandra Christmas-Rouse, Miranda Curtis, Kaley Deal, Julijana Englander, Mao Hu, Lindsey Huth, Emmanuel Jean-Etienne, Eliza Meredith, Taylor Nortman, Rebecca Spicehandler, Anshu Vipparla, and Charles West as a part of a class, Civil/Human Rights Activism in Durham: In the Spirit of Pauli Murray taught by Barbara Lau, director of the Pauli Murray Project.