For the third week of Black History Month we have chose to write about two inspirational women. One an inspiration from the past the other very much a current figure and activist.
Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray was an American civil rights activist who became a lawyer, women’s rights activist, Episcopal priest, and author. Drawn to the ministry in 1977, Murray was the first African-American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest, in the first year that any women were ordained by that church.
As a lawyer, Murray argued for civil rights and women’s rights. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Chief Counsel Thurgood Marshall called Murray’s 1950 book, States’ Laws on Race and Color, the “bible” of the civil rights movement.
When the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray lived, language and terminology around LGBTQ+ communities, gender expression, and gender identities was different than it is today. We don’t know how Pauli Murray would identify if s/he were living today or which pronouns Pauli would use for self-expression. Pauli chose a gender neutral name over their birth name. Murray actively used the phrase “he/she personality” in correspondence with family members during the early years of their life. Read more at The Pauli Murray Centre
Phyllis Akua Opoku-Gyimah, also known as Lady Phyll, is a British political activist, co-founder of UK Black Pride and executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust. Her pioneering activist work has increased visibility and advocacy for Queer, Trans and Intersex People of Colour (QTIPOC) in the UK and beyond.
Her landmark achievements is as the co-founder and director of Black Pride, the first event of its kind in Europe celebrating “LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent… to promote and advocate for the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual health and well-being” of these communities. Read more