Pauli Murray Birthday Party November 24 @ 3 p.m.

Uplifting Activist Women in Durham – Pop Up Exhibit & Zine Making. All Welcome!

Durham Activists Honorees:

Please bring your memories, images and thoughts to add to the exhibit.

Cynthia Brown

Social Justice Activist

Cynthia Brown was a community and environmental activist. A US Senate candidate and former Durham city elected official, Cynthia worked for 30 years with vulnerable communities to build their own organizations and advocate for public policies focused on their needs.

Nancy Rowland


Nancy Rowland, beloved teacher and award-winning guidance counselor, would become the Director of Admissions at NCCU. She was remembered as a person with “hurricane power” whose mighty gales sent graduates flooding colleges and universities across the nation.

Kathy Kerr

HIV/AIDS Public Health Activist

Kathy Kerr and her team of health educators and outreach workers developed groundbreaking, innovative, community-led prevention efforts during the height of HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Viola Turner

Business woman

Viola Turner, an executive with NC Mutual Life Insurance Company, paved the way for generations of African American women in business and finance, and championed equal pay and recognition.

Pauline Fitzgerald Dame

Educator, Civil Rights Activist, Poet

Pauline Fitzgerald Dame was a dedicated educator, co-founder of St. Titus’ Episcopal Church and the aunt and adopted mother of Pauli Murray. Pauline worked in the Durham County School system for 60 years where she advocated for equal pay across the color line.

Joyce Thorpe

Public Housing Tenant Activist; Groundbreaking Health Care Professional

A founder of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Joyce Thorpe was the first African American woman to graduate from Duke University’s physician assistant (PA) program. She fought for public housing tenant’s rights, winning a Supreme Court case giving public housing residents due process.

Dr. Sharon Elliott-Bynum

Healer, Public Health Activist

Dr. Sharon Elliott-Bynum was the Co-Founder and Executive Director of CAARE, Inc., a non-profit community-based organization providing support to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. CAARE continues to offer free healthcare, public health education, and human services to the uninsured and underserved. 

Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray

Activist, Lawyer, Educator, Poet, Episcopal Priest

Pauli Murray believed in justice, reconciliation, and freedom. She championed the cause of human rights through her work as an author, educator, lawyer, feminist, poet and priest.

Nayo Watkins

Poet, Playwright, Educator

Mama Nayo Barbara Watkins, now an ancestor, was a Black Arts South warrior and healer.  Power poet and acclaimed people’s playwright, she used interactive theater to facilitate communities telling the submerged histories of their own struggle and triumph.  – Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Joan Priess

Farm Labor Activist

Joan Preiss was a farm workers’ rights activist known for her tireless efforts to address working conditions of migrant laborers. She helped found and then chaired the Triangle Friends of the United Farm Workers. 

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