Note: This segment originally aired February 19, 2016.
Pauli Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt could not have come from more different backgrounds. Murray was the granddaughter of a mixed-race slave, while Roosevelt’s ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.
But the unlikely pair sustained a profound and decades-long friendship. They met by chance in 1935 when Murray was at a government-sponsored camp for unemployed women. They got to know one another through letters, and eventually their relationship transitioned from a political alliance to a true friendship.
The new book “The Firebrand and the First Lady” (Alfred A. Knopf/2016) is a dual biography of Murray and Roosevelt that traces their friendship from the Great Depression through the early days of the civil rights and women’s rights movement.