[Durham INC] Pauli Murray Project expands (today's Herald-Sun)
bwatu at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 12 11:19:06 EST 2009
Pauli Murray Project expands
By Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, Herald-Sun, 12 Nov 2009
An interactive Google map of historic civil and human rights sites around Durham is one part of the Pauli Murray Project that honors the late interracial lawyer, activist, poet and Episcopal priest from Durham.
The project of the Duke Human Rights Center was launched in March, and aims to "activate history for social change" by engaging the community, acknowledging the past and working together for positive change.
Director Barbara Lau gave a project update Wednesday at the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke along with students working on the project through a Center for Documentary Studies class. The Pauli Murray Project recently launched its Web site, http://paulimurrayproject.org, and will link to the Google map when that goes public on Dec. 1. The map will include sites like the Royal Ice Cream Parlor, St. Joseph's Historic Foundation at the Hayti Heritage Center, White Rock Baptist Church, N.C. Mutual Life Insurance, the Durham Armory, law office of Floyd McKissick Sr., and Murray's childhood home on Carroll Street in the West End.
Each location will link to a brief written or audio history.
Duke student Catalina Hidalgo said that learning about Murray and Durham taught them that there are many sides to history. She said the project has provoked conversations about the Durham community among students who usually remain within campus walls.
Lau said the project is about asking questions about who wrote Durham's history and why. "What is the story we tell about who we are and where we live?" she said. "What can we learn from these times of struggle?"
Murray was born Nov. 20, 1910 and addresses issues of race, gender and class through her work, including her memoir "Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family," published in 1956. She raised issues that made many people uncomfortable, Lau noted, like relationships between white men and black slave women, and the African-American color line of treatment between those who have lighter or darker skin. Murray's ancestry includes both whites and blacks. Her mother was part of the prominent African-American Fitzgerald family of Durham. In 1977, at age 66, Murray became one of the first women and the first African-American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest.
She was also a co-founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the National Organization for Women (NOW).
There are several murals of Murray around Durham. Future plans for recognizing Murray's role in Durham's history include a children's book about her life, a state road marker in the West End near her childhood home and use of her work as a Durham Reads book. In summer 2010, a group of Episcopal youth will take tour civil rights areas in the state, with a stop in Durham and focus on Murray. The project, along with the Southwest Central Durham Quality of Life Project, is looking into acquiring Murray's old house and how to fund it and sustain it. On Monday, Durham City Council will present a proclamation honoring Murray's legacy during its meeting.
The Pauli Murray Project is supported by the Andrus Family Fund and the North Carolina Humanities Council.
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