Pauli Murray’s Proud Shoes: A Classic in African American Genealogy explores the family history of Pauli Murray, a pioneering lawyer, activist, writer and priest.
Her book, Proud Shoes: An African American Family, showcases the racial and social dynamics between the union of a free black family from the north and a mixed-race family of the south. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Murray lived with her aunts and maternal grandparents in Durham, North Carolina after her mother died tragically when she was only four years-old. There, she learned about family history from her aunts.
Murray's great-grandparents, Charles Thomas Fitzgerald and Sarah Burton, were an interracial couple married in 1834 with six children that survived to adulthood. Her grandfather was a civil war solider and teacher, and her grandmother was born into slavery in North Carolina and served as a lifelong member of the Episcopal church.
If Grandfather had not volunteered for the Union in 1863 and come south three years later as a missionary among the Negro freedmen, our family might not have walked in such proud shoes and felt so assured of its place in history.PAULI MURRAY"Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family"
Journey Through the Life of Pauli Murray
Explore the Storylines
Walking in Proud Shoes: Pauli Murray’s Family Genealogy Story
The Pioneering Pauli Murray: Lawyer, Activist and Priest
Pauli Murray's Literary Achievements
Pauli Murray as an LGBTQ+ Historical Figure
A Closer Look
Pauli Murray Walking Tour
Take a walk into Pauli Murray and her Fitzgerald family history in Durham’s West End Neighborhood to meet some of the people and places that shaped her life. Listen to stories about Murray's multi-racial ancestry and heritage, the significance of Black Civil War soldiers and the Freedmen's Schools movement.
RBG's Legal Hero
In this never-before-seen interview, Ruth Bader Ginsburg credits Pauli Murray for inspiring an amicus brief she wrote for the historic 1971 Supreme Court case Reed v. Reed, which was the first time the nation’s highest court recognized women as victims of sex discrimination.