picture of Rev. Pauli Murray seated in front of a Magnolia tree.

Make Pauli Murphy’s Childhood Home a US National Landmark

Did you know that there are very few National Landmark, National Monument, National Park or other official recognitions of the accomplishments of women? According to the list gathered by Wikipedia, the National Park Service has 11 national parks and 47 national landmarks recognizing specific women. An additional 53 sites include information on one or more women’s contributions to our history.  That is out of a total of 413 sites managed by the Park Service – national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House. That means that just under one-quarter of all of the parks recognize women in general and just 14% focus on the accomplishments of a specific woman.

We can do better.  And there’s a chance right now for you to make this happen.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation is lobbying the National Park Service to designate Rev. Pauli Murray’s  childhood home in Durham, North Carolina as a National Landmark.

sepia-toned photo of Pauli Murray's childhood home.

Childhood home of Pauli Murray. It was built by her grandfather Robert Fitzgerald in 1910. Photo courtesy of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliff Institute, Harvard University.

Who was she?  Born in 1910 and died in 1986, Murray was a

  • Teacher
  • Civil Rights Activist from the 1930’s to the end of her life. She worked with Philip RandolphBayard Rustin and Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights Movement but became critical of the male domination of the leadership within the movement.  She first expressed this frustration in 1963 in a letter to Randolph, saying, “[I’ve] “been increasingly perturbed over the blatant disparity between the major role which Negro women have played and are playing in the crucial grass-roots levels of our struggle and the minor role of leadership they have been assigned in the national policy-making decisions.” Three years later, she became one of the founding members of the National Organization for Women.
  • Life-long friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. One author has called Murray Eleanor Roosevelt’s “Beloved Radical.” In 1952, for example, Murray lost a position at Cornell University’s Law School because her three references – Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, and Philip Randolph – were considered to be too radical and by inference, so was she.
  • Lawyer.
  • Writer. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall described her 1951 book States’ Laws on Race and Color as the “Bible for civil rights lawyers.”
  • Priest. In fact, she was the first African-American woman to become a priest. That was in 1977.
picture of Rev. Pauli Murray seated in front of a Magnolia tree.

Reverend Pauli Murray in 1978. Photo Courtesy of the Pauli Murray Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

If you want to join the National Trust and help get the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice designated as  National Landmark honoring Pauli Murray, please sign this petition before Tuesday, October 18, 2016. That’s the day the National Park Service meets and is likely to make this decision.

Thank you!

Why I’m Voting for the Women this Fall

Vote Local PA logo

Vote Local. In my case, from top to bottom, this year it’s mostly women!

The idea of having a man who, at minimum, disparages women and people of color, in his campaign for the White House is discombobulating. And dangerous to our society.  I am one of many (in all likelihood the majority of voters) who will not be voting or supporting Donald Trump in November.

Why? I don’t want a racist and sexist despot in the White House.

In a blog on Nel’s  New Day called Trump Loses with Blacks, Women; Nel points out some of the inner workings of Trump— the man, his campaign, and the “can of worms” that his potential leadership of this country could bring forth.

What particularly strikes me in this expose is Donald Trump’s retrograde idea of parenting and women’s “place” in life.  Among these is his idea that parenting is solely the responsibility of women.  His parental leave policy not only is discriminatory towards men, it’s minimalist in its depth and would result in an expanding economic disparity between educated white men and just about everyone else.

As Rebecca Traister reports in her 2015 article in the New Republic, a lack of federal policies supporting paid parental leave for both men and women hurts individual families as well as our society.  She also points out that sexist maternity leave policies result in increasing disparity among our citizenry.  She says:

“The United States and its corporate structures were built with one kind of worker—frankly, with one kind of citizen—in mind. That citizen wage-earner was a white man. That this weakness is being addressed by employers faster than it is being addressed by Congress contributes to the widening of the class chasm. Policies that account for the fact that women now give birth and earn wages on which their families depend—and, for that matter, that men now earn wages and provide childcare on which their families depend—should not be crafted by individual bosses or corporations on a piecemeal basis that inevitably favors already privileged populations. They should be available to every American. But until we see a large-scale, national refashioning of family leave, the economic fates of childbearers will be left in the hands of the private entities that employ them.”

Definitely not Trump’s view of America.  But it is mine.

We need a person in the White House and people in Congress who believe in a compassionate and caring family-friendly workplace and community.  We need people who will craft a strong and national egalitarian family leave policy for all.  For women. For men. For LGBTQIA people. For single as well as married parents and adult caregivers.  And for people regardless of color or source and amount of income.

So in November, I will vote for people  running for policy-making positions who can fit this bill.  Here in PA, they are all women – a first for me.  That’s Hilary Rodham Clinton for President, Katie McGinty for the US Senate, and Kerith Strano Taylor for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District. And at the state level, it’s Melody Fleck for the 171st PA House District  (the same seat I ran for in 2008 when I was the only woman on my ballot that year).

Hey Pennsylvania: Rock Out for Abortion Rights this Saturday 9/10           

Women's Law Project Blog

This Saturday, more than 30 cities across the country, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, are hosting events as part of All Access, a series of concerts and conversations about unequal access to abortion in America.

all-access-logo

This is the deal: Women’s healthcare is in a preventable crisis in the United States. In the last five years, hundreds of abortion bans have been passed into law depriving women all over the country, including in Pennsylvania, of access to healthcare. In short, since anti-choice activists can’t legally criminalize abortion outright, they’re focused on proposing laws that discriminate against low-income women by installing financial and logistical barriers to abortion access.

Equality is not possible without equal access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare, including abortion. Racial justice and economic security are not possible without reproductive freedom.

Please join us this Saturday in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as we rock for abortion access.

All Access:…

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