Durham City Council Honors Pauli Murray

Pauli Murray Honored

Council Chambers of City Hall (101 City Hall Plaza)

A Proclamation Honoring Pauli Murray’s Legacy was presented during the November 16 Durham City Council Meeting.

Thanks to Farad Ali for sponsoring this effort.

You can watch the meeting online after November 16.

Councilman Farad Ali reads proclamation as members of the Pauli Murray Project Steering Committee and Fitzgerald family member look on, November 16, 2009.

A lighter moment at the City Council Meeting.

Proclamation Text:
Resolution Honoring the Late Pauli Murray

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray grew up in Durham, North Carolina as a part of a prominent African American family, the granddaughter of educator, Robert Fitzgerald, the grandniece of brick maker and banker Richard Fitzgerald, the niece of longtime Durham public school teacher Pauline Fitzgerald Dame; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray graduated with a certificate of distinction from Hillside High School in 1926; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray became a nationally-known historian, lawyer, poet and champion for civil and human rights; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray was a community activist, in the United States and abroad, and a tireless fighter who demonstrated fearlessness and courage in her lifelong struggle for racial and gender equality; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray was an acclaimed author who wrote Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family, published in 1956, which offers an unprecedented description of early Durham and the significant life experiences of her family members; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray was the first African American woman to graduate from Howard Law School at the top of her class; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray wrote States’ Laws on Race and Color for the Women’s Division of Christian Services, which was labeled the “bible” for the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education and other civil rights cases; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray coined the term “Jane Crow” in recognition of the interrelated discrimination faced by women and people of color and was one of the founders of the National Organization for Women; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray served as an advisor to Eleanor Roosevelt and was appointed by John F. Kennedy to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women Committee (PCSW) on Civil and Political rights; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray was the first African American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest, celebrating the Eucharist for the first time at Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church in Chapel Hill, NC where her grandmother Cornelia (Smith) Fitzgerald, then a slave, had been baptized; and

WHEREAS, Pauli Murray’s legacy has inspired a new effort, the Pauli Murray Project, to examine our history as a way of strengthening ties among our Durham, North Carolina communities by employing dialogue, education, storytelling and historical research to enrich our understanding of the past and use it to seek social justice.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, William V. “Bill” Bell, Mayor of the City of Durham, North Carolina, do hereby proclaim November 20, 2009, Pauli Murray Day in Durham, and hereby urge all citizens to take special note of her contributions and to attend programs in her honor being planned by the Pauli Murray Project.

WITNESS my hand and the corporate seal of the City of Durham, North Carolina, this the 16th day of November, 2009.

William V. “Bill” Bell
Mayor