"This is a compelling biography of an 'unsung force'-an inspiring and transformative figure who broke barriers pivotal to both the civil rights and women's movements."--Horn Book Magazine
"This inspiring biography in verse aims to promote the life and work of the lesser-known yet influential Black civil rights activist and feminist."--Booklist Reviews
"Pauli Murray was brilliant, outspoken, and committed to achieving dignity and equality for all under the law. Rising from poverty, Murray challenged pervasive race and sex discrimination and helped launch the two most important movements of the Twentieth Century: civil rights and women's rights. This new biography capsulizes important events and accomplishments of an iconoclast who would not take 'No' for an answer. Young readers will be drawn to the story of Pauli's bravery and pivotal role in history." -- Christian F. Nunes, President, National Organization for Women
“…the inclusion of too-often-unrecognized details of Murray’s accomplishments in education, law, and activism, combined with the harsh sociopolitical context she emerged from, make for an undeniably potent story.” — Kirkus
"Pauli Murray is told in verse, giving poetic gravitas to her life from her early childhood; the early death of her mother and separation of the siblings, which saw Pauli Murray move to Baltimore to live with her aunt, who eventually adopted her; her life in the Jim Crow South, which awakened the activist in her, and her work to dismantle the white male patriarchy that sought to “other” her and hold her, and other women and people of color, down. Queer and Black, she was a force for positive change. She went to jail for refusing to sit in a broken seat in the back of a bus long before Rosa Parks, and, like Martin Luther King Jr., was inspired by Ghandhi’s promotion of protest through nonviolence." -- @momreadit.com, May 28,2022
Pauli Murray: The Life…is perhaps most notable for the literary device of telling the story in verse – singing, it seems, of the unvarnished hardships, and the horrific indignities of poverty Murray had to endure as a direct result of oppression. The narrative unfolds gracefully with fluidity and lyricism almost easing the telling of alarming gritty details. Actually, the great achievement of the writing here is that the reader is carried almost effortlessly through the ugliness of what she endured – the girls’ camp protest that ended in her dismissal, the bare-bones – just merely better than a life-on-the-streets-existence in New York, and her courageous trek from California to North Carolina on freight trains while disguised as a boy. Then there is the long list of offered opportunities that were later denied or had suddenly vanished because she was not male or white, or neither. Riley Temple, Virginia Theological Seminary
Collection Growth Specialist for the African American Episcopal Historical Collection.
This is an enthralling telling of Pauli Murray’s life written by her niece Rosita Stevens-Holsey and by Terry Catasús Jennings. They write Murray’s story in an accessible manner intended for middle-school readers—though older readers will also be inspired! Following the example of Rev. Murray’s profound poetry, the biography is written in verse, such that Murray’s life jumps off the page into our hearts and souls. Murray’s life is a testimony to persistent longing for justice and keeping hope amid adversity. When the doctoral summer residency celebrated Pauli Murray’s feast day last summer, Stevens-Holsey generously came to campus to offer greetings from the Murray family. Her presence was a wonderful gift, as is her book! Virginia Theologic Seminary January 2023 Alumni News.