Pauli Murray

Saint Pauli

Jul 20, 2012

In the Episcopalian Church, it is customary for someone to be deceased for 50 years in order to become a saint. However when it came to Pauli Murray, the church’s General Convention chose to set aside the rule and include her in the book “Holy Men, Holy Women: Celebrating the Saints” (Church Publishing/ 2010), giving her status as a saint.

Pauli Murray marker sits at Carroll and West Chapel Hill Streets in Durham.
Jeanette Stokes

An official state historic marker now sits in the West-End neighborhood of Durham celebrating the life of human rights leader Pauli Murray.

The childhood home of a renowned human rights leader is about to get a major face-lift in southwest Durham.

 Pauli Murray was an attorney, Civil Rights activist and the first African American female Episcopal priest.  The house her grandfather built in the 1890s sits way off Carroll Street in Durham’s West End. Sarah Bingham was one of several people to walk through the two-story house yesterday. She says it’s in pretty good shape.

Sarah Bingham:  "I see possibilities everywhere."

Inge:  "It looks kind of fragile though."

Pauli Murray mural in downtown Durham
Face Up Project, Center for Documentary Studie

There are murals of a woman in downtown Durham who was obscure to the population until just about a year ago. Her name is Pauli Murray. Murray was raised in Durham and went on to become a civil rights leader, co-founder of the National Organization for Women and the first African American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. Durham residents have been celebrating the 100th anniversary of Murray’s birth. There is a Pauli Murray Project at Duke University named for her and even a play in her honor.