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A’NDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SWAIM AUSTIN, TEXAS 7S731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip because of the coppery-cream color of her skin. Buttressing her struggles were her grandfather’s abiding trust in education and her Aunt Pauline’s heroic willingness to help her even when her niece’s ambitions must have seemed outlandish to the aging school teacher who seldom ventured outside her native state. Her relentless battle against discrimination and injustice began when she set out at 17 to try to overcome the deficient education she had gotten in segregated rural schools. Although she was able to graduate from Hunter College in New York with high marks, her sense of being behind and her obsession with education as a way of catching up never abated. The disadvantages she overcame during those early years in New York set a lifelong pattern of snatching personal and professional victory out of the jaws of rejection and defeat. As a black female college graduate during the Depression, she learned unforgettable lessons in deprivation sharing housing and food when there was enough to share, more often doing without. During those years she married a young man as destitute as she was. They parted after a few months of subsistence living, not bothering to divorce until years later. All the while, she was learning the lessons of social activism and establishing the network of like-minded men and women who would provide a safety net beneath the high-wire act that became her career. Over and over, she would sacrifice stability to serve the causes she believed in. As her activism matured, she became a “gadfly” for human rights, going from one crisis to another, making the crucial contribution and then moving on. During the 1940s, she helped formu late the “separate is not equal” argument that brought down legalized segregation. As a founder of the National Organization for Women and a member of the history-making Kennedy Commission on the Status of Women, she helped build the women’s rights movement. Later in an influential article called “Jane Crow and the Law,” she urged the Supreme Court to cover women fully under the Constitution in hopes of diverting the storm brewing over an Equal Rights Amendment. She was instrumental in getting all women and blacks covered by equal employment legislation in 1963, and in 1965 she wrote the argument that made it possible for me to serve on a jury in Alabama in 1967. Experience after experience made her more aware of the insidiousness of discrimination. At Howard University Murray became a gadfly for , human rights, making the crucial contribution and moving on. Law School, she learned that sexism could be as demeaning as racism. During the heart of the civil rights movement, she was stunned by the combined racism and sexism of young black militants. After a year teaching law in Ghana, she returned to get a doctorate at Yale, only to find age discrimination added to the burdens of race and sex. The struggle to see women ordained in the Episcopal Church and to become a priest herself put her endurance and spirituality to the test for the last time. Yet, despite frail health compounded by age and the partial loss of hearing, she was ordained at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., in January, 1977. BY 1983, PAULI Murray was ministering to several small black parishes around Balti more, and I was working on a book in Washington, D.C. Using my research as an excuse, I made an appointment with Murray and drove to Baltimore where I found her living with relatives. She had come full circle to the city of her birth. Her quarters were small but comfortable, as if she had lived there for a long time, which I knew she had not. She, who had never owned a home and seldom stayed in one place for more than a few years, had the transient’s knack for making herself and her guests at home. Her mental and physical energy and smooth skin belied her 73 years; and, although I had been told she was ill, I saw no signs of it. She had taken time to prepare carefully for my visit even though she was in the midst of trying to finish Song in a Weary Throat. I was struck by her warmth and her willingness to befriend a stranger recommended only by a shared interest in women’s rights. We talked about the peculiarities of being Southern women, black and white, and of the permanent sense of loss that goes with losing a parent in childhood as we both had. She described the unlikely and unexpected success of the women’s movement with one word: “commitment.” I saw Pauli Murray for the last time in October 1984 at the Smithsonian’s commemoration of Eleanor Roosevelt’s 100th birthday. Wearing red and a heavy turquoise and silver cross over her priest’s collar, Pauli Murray was celebrating the completion of her own book as well as her old friend’s birthday. But she was thin as a reed and by July she was dead. Harper and Row has done their readers a good turn by reissuing Proud Shoes along with Song in a Weary Throat. Together the two books dramatize long neglected aspects of the American experience and paint an inspiring portrait of one of the heroes of human rights in this country. Still, I put the book down with a twinge of disappointment. Though the message of universal community pervades the book, the personal sweetness of the woman I knew is missing. Logic and politics always take precedence over emotion, and the spiritual vocation that climaxed Murray’s life does not climax the story as she tells it. I am left wondering about the process that seems to have erased all bitterness toward a heritage in which one side of the family raped, enslaved, and impoverished the other. I am left longing for what I sense was left out. Life Insurance and Annuities Martin Elfant, CLU 4223 Richmond, Suite 213, Houston, TX 77027 SUILife OF CANACA dieRzteca 2600 E. 7th St. Austin, Texas 477-4701 vegetarian food 20 JUNE 12, 1987