Dear friends,

Today on our Church calendar we recognize The Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, an Episcopal priest and lawyer who was a leader in civil rights for both women and African Americans. Pauli was born in Durham, NC in 1910 and grew up in the Jim Crow south. She hoped to attend the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, but was denied admission because of her race. Instead she went to Hunter College in New York. She then attended law school at Howard University, where she graduated as the only woman and at the top of her class. She applied to Harvard for advanced studies in law, but this time was turned down because of her gender. So she went west to the University of California Berkley, and then to Yale, where she because the first woman to receive a doctorate from the law school.

Murray led a life of activism. More than a decade before Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, AL for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white person, Murray was arrested in Virginia for doing the same thing. She organized sit ins and protests in Washington DC years before the sit-in movement reached the South. She was co-founder of National Organization of Women, and was friends with Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

And she was the first Black woman to be ordained in the Episcopal Church. She was among the first wave of women ordained in 1977, after women’s ordinations were approved by the General Convention in 1976.

If you would like to learn more about her, you may want to watch this 6-minute video from PBS:

And if you get quarters back in your change check them out. She is featured on the newer issues.

Here is a prayer for this trail blazer who worked to bring the world closer to the way God would have it be:

Liberating God, we thank you for the steadfast courage of your servant Pauli Murray, who fought long and well: Unshackle us from the chains of prejudice and fear, that we may show forth the reconciling love and true freedom which you revealed in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

With love,


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