Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray was the First Black Person to Earn a Doctorate in Law From Yale University


Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray was the first African American to earn a doctorate in law (JSD) from Yale University. Even more, she conceptualized the arguments that won Brown v. Board of Education which ended segregation in public schools and later women’s equality in the workplace. To tell her amazing story, her niece, Rosita Stevens-Holsey, with co-author Terry Catasús Jennings, has authored a book entitled Pauli Murray: The Life of a Pioneering Feminist & Civil Rights Activist.


The book tells the real-life story of a woman whose efforts and ambitions have provided some of the freedoms we experience today. Like many BIPOCs whose history and accomplishments have been overlooked, unknown, or left out of the history books, Murray is no exception. This biography strives to change this fact.


Born in 1910, Pauli Murray had an undying hunger for knowledge, which would provide the inspiration she needed to enhance the lives of Black people, women, and the underprivileged. She shattered glass ceilings throughout her entire life. Murray had a desire to fight for the oppressed, not only by changing laws but also by using her powerful prose to influence those who could affect change (like President Roosevelt). She was a thorn in the side of white America, demanding justice and equal treatment for all. One will learn about this brilliant activist who, in 1944 conceptualized the arguments that would win Brown vs. Board of Education, and in 1964, the arguments that won women equality in the workplace.

This book aims to have readers not only learn about but be inspired by this mostly unknown, but amazing woman who was a poet, writer, activist, lawyer, and Episcopal priest, Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray. “Confrontation by typewriter” was Murray’s mantra and that’s what co-author Rosita Stevens-Holsey intends to highlight with this book.

Rosita had the privilege to share a unique closeness with Murray. Although they lived miles apart, Rosita was part of Murray’s “Washington, D.C. family headquarters,” her home away from home. Murray supported Rosita by allowing her to live in her New York City apartment while she began her blossoming career with IBM.


Written by PH

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