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Pauli MurrayA Personal and Political Life$
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Troy R. Saxby

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469654928

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469654928.001.0001

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For All My Bravado, Deeply Engrained Notions of Respectability Filled Me with Distress, 1926–1940

For All My Bravado, Deeply Engrained Notions of Respectability Filled Me with Distress, 1926–1940

Chapter:
(p.39) Two For All My Bravado, Deeply Engrained Notions of Respectability Filled Me with Distress, 1926–1940
Source:
Pauli Murray
Author(s):

Troy R. Saxby

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469654928.003.0002

This chapter examines Pauli Murray’s early adult years. Murray relocated to New York City to complete high school and undergraduate study at Hunter College. The Great Depression severely disrupted her education, but also facilitated her tramping across the country, often passing as a teenage boy. Gender identity concerns and the social stigma around homosexuality led Murray to seek gender reassignment and contributed to mental health problems, which were also exacerbated by a fear of hereditary insanity. Work on New Deal projects led to immersion in the labor movement and an interest in communism. These influences, and Gandhian civil disobedience, inspired Murray’s groundbreaking contributions to nonviolent direct-action civil rights protests, which included challenging segregated education by applying to the University of North Carolina and being arrested for violating segregated bus seating.

Keywords:   Pauli Murray, Gender reassignment, Homosexuality, Hereditary insanity, Labor movement, Communism, Nonviolent direct-action, Civil rights

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