Pauli Murray: Shouting for the Rights of All People

Morehouse. May 2022. 64p. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781640655577.
Gr 2-5–This chapter-book style biography traces the untold story of activist, lawyer, writer, and Episcopal priest Pauli Murray. Anna Pauline Murray was born in 1910 and spent her formative years in the care of her aunt Pauline in Durham, NC. Aunt Pauline was a strict but caring role model for Murray laid the groundwork for her strong religious faith. Observing the unfairness of life under Jim Crow laws inspired Murray to speak out about the injustice she observed. As a young woman, she attended Hunter College, an all-female school in New York City. There, surrounded by women in leadership roles who spoke their minds, Anna began to challenge gender norms by wearing pants, cutting her hair short, and changing her first name to “Pauli” (Linck includes a note on pronoun usage, explaining the decision to use a mix of she/her and they/them pronouns in order to “both respect Murray’s voice and honor their identity”). In many ways, Murray was a pioneer of civil rights, participating in peaceful protests and using their poetry and writing to speak out against unfair laws and practices. They even had a correspondence and friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the First Lady at the time. Murray coined the term “Jane Crow” to describe the unfair treatment and exclusion of women they experienced while attending law school. In 1966, they helped form NOW, and later in life Murray was ordained the first African American female priest in the Episcopal church. The short, repetitive chapters and simple prose will make this biography appealing to younger readers. Glossary and time line appended.
VERDICT A great addition to elementary libraries where more diverse biographies are needed.

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