About Pauli Murray


Pauli Murray College honors Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray, a remarkable civil rights and women’s rights advocate, who contributed immensely to the dismantling of segregation and discrimination. Pauli Murray pioneered a vision for a society that valued diversity and rallied around our common human virtues. Pauli Murray College hopes to carry forward her vision for a better society through its community members and its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion.

Her Story

Pauli Murray was a scholar, lawyer, and activist, who provided great contributions to the civil rights movement. Early on in her life, Murray was committed to pursuing an education, attending Hunter College in the 1920s and 1930s. Her following attempt to study at the all-white University of North Carolina garnered national attention, and established her as civil rights activist.
In 1965, Murray became the first African-American to receive a J.S.D. degree from Yale Law School. She wrote scholarly works such as “Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII” and “Roots of the Racial Crisis: Prologue to Policy,” both of which provided incredible insight into the pressing civil rights issues of the time. Following law school, she served as council for civil rights cases, working to challenge discrimination via the court system.
Murray was a trailblazer throughout her life, co-founding the National Organization for Women, serving as a vice president of Benedict College in South Carolina, and becoming the first person to teach African-American Studies and Women’s Studies at Brandeis University. Later in her life, she became the first African-American woman ordained as an Episcopal priest, and received an honorary degree from the Yale Divinity School in 1979.
Pauli Murray served as an incredible leader in the civil rights movement, showing incredible bravery, persistence, and diligence in her pursuit of an equal society. Her amazing story and achievements continue to inspire the work of many scholars and activists today. Pauli Murray is an inspiration to continue the struggle for equality and justice today, as she tirelessly did during the course of her life.