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Pauli Murray: Topics in Chronicling America

Pauli Murray was an African American civil rights and women's rights activist and lawyer. This guide provides access to material related to "Pauli Murray" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Pauli Murray. March 7, 1942. The Guardian (Boston, Massachusetts), Image 6. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Pauli Murray (1910-1985), born Anna Pauline Murray, was an African American civil rights activist and legal scholar who argued for both civil rights and women's rights. Murray argued the struggles of the civil rights era were not only racial, but also gender-based.

In 1938, Murray was rejected from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill because of her race. Despite this rejection, Murray pivoted and graduated cum laude from Howard University's Law School. She then applied to Harvard University's School of Law for a post-graduate program, but was rejected because of her gender.

Murray eventually became a powerful voice in the civil rights era and advocated for the rights of African American women who were victims of both "Jim Crow" and "Jane Crow." Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


1938 Pauli Murray is rejected by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill due to her race.
Spring 1944 Pauli Murray applies to Harvard Law School for her Post Graduate studies despite Harvard University's practice of not admitting women.
1944 Murray is a recipient of the Julius Rosenwald Fellowship. She uses this fellowship to study minority rights under New Deal labor and social legislation.
June 1944 Murray graduates cum laude from Howard University Law School.
August 1944 Murray's admissions appeal to Harvard Law School is rejected.
January 1946 Murray becomes the first African American appointed to the attorney general's office in California
August 24, 1963 In a letter to the Evening Star newspaper, Murray criticizes the National Press Club's policy of segregation and discrimination against qualified newspaper women. Murray notes the issue of gender within the civil rights movement-- unlike men, African American women are victims of both "Jim Crow" and "Jane Crow."
November 1963 At the National Council of Negro Women's convention, Murray is critical of how women are assigned to secondary, ornamental or "honoree" roles in the civil rights movement.