MetroFocus: October 14, 2021

“MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY”

One of the most important figures in the fight for civil rights may be someone that you have never heard of. Pauli Murray, a lawyer, activist, and writer was ahead of their time. They refused to give up their seat on a bus 15 years before Rosa Parks famously did. They argued that separate but equal was unconstitutional 10 years before the Supreme Court made that decision. And they were one of the first lawyers to argue that women should be protected equally under the 14th amendment. In addition to their professional work, Pauli Murray was a trailblazer in their personal life, never conforming to traditional gender roles that they did not identify with and paving the way for queer and gender non-conforming activists that came after them. A new documentary, “My Name Is Pauli Murray,” streaming now on Amazon Prime, tells Murray’s story, largely in their own words. Tonight, award-winning co-directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen join us to discuss the film and the life and legacy of this trailblazing civil rights leader.

TRANSCRIPT

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> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FIGURES IN THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS MAY WELL BE SOMEONE WHO YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF.

PAULIE MURRAY, LAWYER, ACTIVIST AND WRITER WAS AHEAD OF TIME.

ARGUED THAT SEPARATE BUT EQUAL WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL TEN YEARS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT REACHED THAT VERY SAME CONCLUSION.

PAULIE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST LAWYERS TO ARGUE THAT WOMEN SHOULD BE PROTECTED EQUALLY UNDER THE 14th AMENDMENT.

IN ADDITION TO BEING A TRAILBLAZER PROFESSIONALLY, NEVER CONFORMING TO TRADITIONAL GENDER ROLLS AND PAVING THE WAY FOR QUEER AND GENDER NON-CONFORMING ACTIVISTS TO COME.

A NEW DOCUMENTARY, STREAMING ON AMAZON PRIME, TELLS THE STORY, LARGELY PAULIE'S OWN WORDS.

HERE IS A QUICK PREVIEW.

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO ARGUE YOU CANNOT TEACH AMERICAN YOU HISTORY WALL STREET TEACHING ABOUT PAULIE.

A WRITER, A LAWYER, A PRIEST, A POET.

PAULIE WAS A FEISTY WOMAN.

MY NAME IS PAULIE MURRAY.

MY HISTORY HAS BEEN A STRUGGLE IN A SOCIETY DOMINATED BY THE IDEA THAT BLACKS WERE INFERIOR TO WHITES AND WOMEN WERE INFERIOR TO MEN.

PAULIE WAS WAY AHEAD OF THE TIME.

I CHOSE FOR MY SENIOR PAPER THIS.

MY ARGUMENT WENT TO THE SUPREME COURT.

YOU SEE THE DIFFERENT FOLKS IN THIS ROOM?

THAT'S MADE POSSIBLE BY PAULIE MURRAY.

IF YOU RIP AWAY EVERYTHING, OPPRESSION IS THE BUSINESS OF NOT RESPECTING ONE'S PERSONHOOD.

FOR MY FIRST TWO YEARS, I WAS THE ONLY WOMAN.

THEY DIDN'T LET ME TALK.

THURGOOD MARSHALL IS TALKING ABOUT JIM CROW.

SHE SAYS, WHAT I'M EXPERIENCING IS JANE CROW.

PAULIE MURRAY WAS NOT JUST AN AMAZING LAWYER OR A BAD-ASS FEMINIST BUT A QUEER NON-BINARY PERSON.

THE TURMOIL AND THE SUFFERING, THIS IS A FEELING I KNOW WELL.

SCHOLARS WHO HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT PAULIE LARGELY STILL USE FEMININE PRONOUNS.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT PRONOUNCES PAULIE WOULD SAY.

TRANS AND NON-BINARY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN A PART.

OR DID YOU THINK YOUR GENERATION INVENTED IT?

♪♪♪

THIS COUNTRY IS TO SURVIVE, WE MUST LIVE TOGETHER IN HARMONY.

PAULIE MAY NOT HAVE REALIZED THEY WOULD BE A BEACON FOR SO MANY FOLKS.

PAULIE'S TIME HAD NOT COME.

WE HAVE TO WORK FOR A WORLD IN WHICH IT DOES COME.

YOU SAY I CAN'T, I WILL SHOW YOU I CAN, EVEN IF I DIE TRYING.

JOINING ME TO DISCUSS THIS NEW DOCUMENT AND THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF PAULIE MURRAY, THE AWARD WINNING CO-DIRECTORS OF 'MY NAME IS PAULIE MURRAY.'

BETSY, JULIE, GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE WITH US.

NICE TO SEE YOU.

NICE TO BE HERE.

LET'S START OFF WITH THE QUESTION THAT'S ALWAYS ASKED OF PEOPLE INVOLVED IN DOCUMENTARIES.

THAT IS, WHY THIS SUGGEST PAULIE MURRAY, AND WHY NOW?

BETSY, YOU START.

YEAH.

WHEN JULIE AND I WERE MAKING THE DOCUMENTARY 'RBG,' WE LEARNED THAT JUSTICE GINSBURG GAVE PAULIE MURRAY CREDIT FOR COMING UP WITH THE VERY INNOVATIVE IDEA OF HOW TO WIN EQUALITY FOR AMERICAN WOMEN.

IT WAS REALLY AFTER THAT THAT WE LOOKED INTO PAULIE.

IT DIDN'T TAKE LONG TO DISCOVER THE INCREDIBLE SWEEP OF THERE PERSON'S LIFE, THE INFLUENCE ON THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, THE WRITING, THE POETRY, THE FACT THAT PAULIE MURRAY BECAME THE FIRST FEMALE IDENTIFIED AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL PRIEST LATER IN LIFE AND SO MANY MORE THINGS.

WE WERE JUST KIND OF AMAZED AND THOUGHT, WHY DIDN'T ANYBODY TELL US ABOUT THIS PERSON?

THAT WAS REALLY THE BEGINNING OF THINKING ABOUT MAKING A DOCUMENTARY.

EACH CHAPTER OF PAULIE'S LIFE IS FASCINATING.

IT FEELS LIKE IT COULD BE A DOCUMENTARY IN AND OF ITSELF.

OF COURSE, PAULIE MURRAY HAD BEEN GONE FOR 35 YEARS WHEN WE STARTED OUR PROJECT.

WE STARTED DOING A LITTLE RESEARCH.

THE QUESTION WAS, WOULD THERE BE THE MATERIAL TO DO A KIND OF LIVING, BREATHING FILM ABOUT THIS PERSON?

THAT QUESTION WAS ACTUALLY ANSWERED IN EFFECT BY PAULIE MURRAY WHO HAD SAVED NOT ONLY 141 BOXES WORTH OF PAPERS, LEGAL WRITINGS, DRAFTS OF THINGS, PERSONAL JOURNALS, BUT ALSO MORE THAN 800 EXTRAORDINARY PHOTOGRAPHS OF AND BY PAULIE AND MORE THAN 40 HOURS OF AUDIOTAPE RECORDING IN WHICH PAULIE IS, YOU KNOW, TELLING THIS INCREDIBLY RICH LIFE STORY.

WE LATER CAME ACROSS VIDEO.

BUT WE LAUNCHED INTO OUR PROJECT ONCE WE STARTED HEARING THIS REMARKABLE AUDIO OF THIS INCREDIBLE HISTORICAL FIGURE DESCRIBING EVENTS KIND OF IN THIS EVOCATIVE LANGUAGE THAT MADE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE THERE AND MADE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE A STUDENT OF PAULIE MURRAY, IN EFFECT.

IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE YOU SAY, WHY DIDN'T WE KNOW ABOUT HER?

I MENTIONED THIS TO THE TWO OF YOU BEFORE.

I GRADUATED FROM YALE.

I'VE BEEN TEACHING AT YALE FOR 15 YEARS.

YALE FAIRLY RECENTLY NAMED ONE RESIDENTIAL COLLEGES AFTER PAULIE MURRAY.

YOU TALK ABOUT IN THE FILM, WENT BACK TO THE LAW SCHOOL FOR A DOCTORATE.

WHEN THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT NAMES, I REMEMBER -- I KNEW SOMETHING ABOUT PAULIE MURRAY.

NOT MUCH.

WHEN I DELVED INTO IT AND FOUND ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU TALK ABOUT NOW -- YOU KNOW THE LAWYER PART AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST.

THE POET, THE PRIEST, ALL OF THESE LAYERS OF PAULIE MURRAY THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT I THINK WERE JUST ASTONISHING.

LET ME COME BACK TO WHAT YOU TALKED ABOUT HERE.

THE FILM OPENS UP WITH THIS SORT OF A HOME MOVIE KIND OF THING, I GUESS YOU COULD CALL IT, OF PAULIE MURRAY TALKING.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE IN TERMS OF STRUCTURE OF THE DOCUMENTARY, NOT TO HAVE A VOICE OF GOD NARRATOR TELLING THE STORY, BUT SORT OF LETTING PAULIE MURRAY TELL THE STORY?

BETSY?

YEAH.

THAT WAS A VERY DELIBERATE DECISION, AS YOU NOTED, JACK.

WE REALLY WANTED THIS TO BE IN PAULIE'S VOICE.

PAULIE'S VOICE WAS AMAZING.

WHEN WE FOUND THAT VIDEO, WHICH WAS ACTUALLY A KIND OF -- AN INTERVIEW THAT A STUDENT HAD DONE IN THE 1970s TALKING ABOUT FEMINISM MOSTLY AND PAULIE AS AN EPISCOPAL PRIEST.

IT HAD BEEN DROPPED OFF IN HARVARD.

WHEN WE GOT IT DIGITALIZED, WE SAW THE QUALITY IS NOT GREAT.

WE WERE DISAPPOINTED.

WHEN WE SAW PAULIE'S SMILE AND THE OFF INTERVIEW IMPROMPTU MOMENTS WITH THE BELOVED DOG AND FEROCIOUSLY TYPING ON THE TYPEWRITER, WE FELT IT WAS REALLY A WAY TO HELP BRING THIS PERSON ALIVE AND TO SHOW THE HUMAN BEING BEHIND WHAT IS AN EXTRAORDINARY BIOGRAPHY.

YES, IT WAS A PRETTY DELIBERATE DECISION TO LEAN INTO PAULIE.

ONE OF THE THINGS I WANT TO ASK -- JULIE, LET ME ASK YOU THIS.

WE TALK ABOUT GENDER NON-CONFORMING, WAY BACK WHEN.

I WILL ASK YOU MORE ABOUT THAT IN HER WRITINGS OR THE ABSENCE OF PUBLIC WRITINGS.

I SAY HER BECAUSE YOU SEE IN THE FILM, YOU SEE FAMILY AND FRIENDS USING SHE OR HER AND THEY AND THEIR.

THAT SORT OF ILLUSTRATES WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN THE FILM.

IN LOOKING AT THAT, WHY DID YOU DECIDE GENERALLY SPEAKING TO COME DOWN ON ONE AREA, THEY AND THEIR, AS OPPOSED TO SHE AND HER WE HEAR SOME OF THE PEOPLE USING IN THE FILM.

IT'S A TOUGH QUESTION.

WE ACTUALLY -- PAULIE GOING BACK AS EARLY AS THE LATE '30s WAS APPROACHING DOCTORS SAYING, I THINK I'M A MAN.

I UNDERSTAND I PRESENT AND AM CONSIDERED IN YOUR RECORDS TO BE FEMALE.

BUT IS IT POSSIBLE TO GIVE ME TESTOSTERONE TREATMENT?

COULD YOU DO SURGERY AND CHECK WHETHER I MIGHT HAVE UNDESCENDED TESTEES?

QUESTIONS THAT WERE NOT INCORRECT AS SOMETHING TO EXPLORE.

AT THE TIME, WHEN THERE WAS NO LANGUAGE OR UNDERSTANDING OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE, THE DOCTORS BASICALLY COMPLETELY DISMISSED PAULIE.

SAID SCIENCE ISN'T IN KEEPING WITH YOUR CONCLUSION.

WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.

A PAINFUL EXPERIENCE FOR PAULIE.

WE UNDERSTOOD PAULIE -- IT'S A TOUGH POSITION TO LOOK BACK INTO HISTORY.

PAULIE MOST LIKELY -- WAS GENDER NON-CONFORMING.

WAS A TRANS MAN OR NON-BINARY PERSON.

WE CHOSE NOT TO MAKE A DECISION FOR THE FILM.

EVERY TIME THERE'S WRITING ON THE SCREEN IDENTIFYING PAULIE, WE JUST CALL PAULIE PAULIE.

PEOPLE WE INTERVIEW IN THE FILM, ANYONE WHO KNEW PAULIE IN TIMES -- THEY KNEW HER AS A WOMAN AND CALLED PAULIE HER.

HOWEVER, TODAY'S TRANS COMMUNITY, MANY OF WHOM FEEL A DEEP CONNECTION TO PAULIE AS LIKE AN INCREDIBLE HISTORICAL GENDER NON-CONFORMING PERSON WHOSE HISTORY REALLY MEANS SO MUCH AND COULD HAVE DONE SO MUCH TO LEARN IN SCHOOL, FEEL THAT USING THEY/THEM CREATES A MORE EXPANSIVE IDENTITY FOR PAULIE THAT ALLOWS KIND OF FOR MULTITUDES AS RAQUEL WILLIS, AS ONE OF THE TRANS WOMEN IN OUR FILM SAYS.

IT'S ACTUALLY NOT A QUESTION WE WILL KNOW THE ANSWER TO, IF PAULIE WERE ALIVE TODAY, WHAT WOULD BE THE PRONOUN CHOICE.

WE'RE ALL JUST KIND OF DOING THE BEST WE CAN.

WHEN WE ARE DISCUSSING IT, TRY TO CALL PAULIE PAULIE BECAUSE THAT'S A NAME PAULIE -- BORN ANNA ANNA PAULINE.

THE INTERSECTION OF PAULIE MURRAY WITH SO MANY OTHER LUMINARIES.

YOU TALKED ABOUT RUTH BADER GINSBURG.

I WILL ASK ABOUT -- TALK ABOUT THURGOOD MARSHALL.

THURGOOD MARSHALL BECOMES THE FIRST BLACK JUSTICE OF THE U.S.

SUPREME COURT.

PAULIE MURRAY COMES IN CONTACT WITH THURGOOD MARSHALL EARLY ON IN BOTH OF THEIR CAREERS.

TELL THAT STORY.

YEAH.

IN 1940, PAULIE MURRAY WAS TRAVELING FROM NEW YORK WHERE PAULIE LIVED AT THE TIME, DOWN TO NORTH CAROLINA, WHERE PAULIE HAD GROWN UP, WITH A FRIEND.

THEY CROSSED THE BORDER INTO VIRGINIA AND ARE TOLD, AS IS THE CUSTOM AND THE LAW, TO MOVE TO THE BACK OF THE BUS.

WHEN THEY MOVED TO THE BACK, THE SEAT THERE IS BROKEN.

THERE'S AN EMPTY SEAT A LITTLE FORWARD IN THE WHITE SECTION.

THE BUS DRIVER CALLS THE POLICE.

THEY ARE ARRESTED.

PAULIE REACHES OUT TO THE NAACP, AFTER A NIGHT IN PRISON MEETS THURGOOD MARSHALL AND OTHER LAWYERS, WHICH IS PAULIE'S FIRST INTRODUCTION TO THE WORKINGS OF THE LAW.

THEY ARE STRATEGIZING HOW TO FIGHT THIS CASE.

PAULIE AND THE NAACP ULTIMATELY WOULD LIKE TO OVERTURN THESE LAWS.

IT BECOMES A SMALLER CASE WHEN THE JUDGE DISMISSES THAT ASPECT OF IT AND JUST SAYS, LOOK, YOU WERE DISTURBING THE PEACE AND TIME SERVED AND GOOD-BYE.

THAT WAS SORT OF THE BEGINNING OF PAULIE'S INTERACTION WITH THE NAACP AND THURGOOD MARSHALL.

LATER ON, THROUGH PAULIE'S PROFESSOR AT HOWARD LAW SCHOOL, PAULIE LEARNS THAT THE THESIS THAT PAULIE WROTE ABOUT FIGHTING THIS AND JUST BASICALLY RIPPING APART SEPARATE BUT EQUAL, THE ARGUMENT THAT THERE CAN BE NO EQUAL WHEN THERE IS SEPARATION, AN ARGUMENT IN 1943, HER CLASSMATES AND PROFESSORS WERE LAUGHING AT, THIS VERY ARGUMENT IS MADE BY THURGOOD MARSHALL IN BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION AND PAULIE'S PROFESSOR TELLS PAULIE, YEAH, WE DUSTED OFF THAT THESIS AND USED IT.

IT'S ALMOST AS IF PAULIE MURRAY WAS -- I DON'T MEAN TO DIMINISH ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

ALMOST THE FOREST GUMP AND SHOWING UP IN ALL OF THE PLACES AND INTERACTING WITH SIGNIFICANT NAMES IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

WHAT THEN PROMPTS PAULIE MURRAY TO DECIDE, I'M GOING TO BE ONE OF THESE THURGOOD MARSHALL CHAMPIONS.

I'M GOING TO LAW SCHOOL MYSELF AND SEE WHAT I CAN DO ABOUT IT.

HOW DOES THAT COME ABOUT?

PAULIE'S DECISION TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL IN THE EARLY 1940s STEMMED FROM A NUMBER OF THINGS.

AFTER GRADUATING FROM HUNTER COLLEGE IN NEW YORK APPLIED TO GET A MASTER'S DEGREE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA.

A UNIVERSITY, BY THE WAY, WHERE PAULIE'S WHITE ANCESTORS -- BECAUSE PAULIE HAD RACIALLY MIXED BACKGROUND AS IS SO COMMON IN THE SOUTH AND ELSEWHERE.

ONE OF PAULIE'S ANCESTORS HAD BEEN A TRUSTEE OF UNC.

PAULIE SEES UNC IS STARTING TO DO SOME CLASSES DEALING WITH THE ISSUE OF RACE IN AMERICA AND THINKS, MAYBE THIS ALL WHITE UNIVERSITY IS READY FOR A BLACK STUDENT.

APPLIES FOR A MASTER'S DEGREE.

GETS A QUICK LETTER BACK FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY SAYING, THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA AND OUR SCHOOL PROHIBIT BLACK STUDENTS FROM ENTERING THIS COLLEGE.

VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD.

THERE'S -- THERE'S LETTERS TO PAPERS AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS.

SHORTLY THEREAFTER IS THE ARREST ON THE BUS.

PAULIE IS THINKING, WHAT DO I DO -- AT THIS POINT PAULIE IS A LABOR ACTIVIST AND THINKS, THE THING THAT NEEDS TO MOVE FORWARD -- PAULIE'S ATTEMPT TO FIGHT THE BUS JAILING BY SAYING WE SHOULD OVERTURN ALL SEGREGATION LAWS IS BASICALLY THWARTED WITHIN THE LEGAL SYSTEM.

PAULIE IS THINKING, THIS MAY BE THE WAY TO GO.

WHAT I'M GOING TO DO IS GO TO THE PREEMINENT CIVIL RIGHTS LAW INSTITUTION IN OUR COUNTRY, HOWARD LAW SCHOOL, WHERE PAULIE WAS AT FIRST ONE OF TWO AND ULTIMATELY THE ONLY WOMAN STUDENT IN THE CLASS, WHICH WILL GIVE ME EXPOSURE TO THE GREAT CIVIL RIGHTS LEGAL MINDS OF THE GENERATION, THURGOOD MARSHALL WHO WAS TEACHING AT HOWARD AT THE TIME AS WELL AS SPOTSWOOD ROBINSON, ANOTHER GREAT LEGAL MIND.

TO SEE HER PROGRESSION -- A REMINDER, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE NEW DOCUMENTARY TITLED 'MY NAME IS PAULIE MURRAY,' AIRING ON AMAZON PRIME, TALKING WITH AT WARD WINNING CO-DIRECTORS ABOUT ALL OF THAT.

SHE DECIDES, I'M GOING TO TAKE THIS PATH.

PAULIE, SHE, THEY, DECIDE, I'M GOING TO TAKE THIS PATH AND SETS OFF TO HOWARD LAW SCHOOL.

EVEN IN LAW SCHOOL IS AN ACTIVIST.

THE FILM TALKS ABOUT A SIT-IN EARLIER THAN THE SIT-INS WE REMEMBER HERE.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

YEAH.

IT'S THE EARLY 1940s.

PAULIE LEADS A GROUP OF STUDENTS FROM HOWARD IN A PROTEST OF RESTAURANTS IN THE NEARBY NEIGHBORHOOD WHICH ARE SEGREGATED.

AND THEY GO IN AND POLITELY SIT DOWN AND OVER JUST A COUPLE OF DAYS, THE RESTAURANTS RELENT, AND THEY ARE OPENED UP TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS.

IT REALLY IS WAY AHEAD OF THE TIME.

YOU KNOW, 17 YEARS BEFORE THE SIT-INS WE KNOW ABOUT IN MODERN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

THE OTHER THING THAT IS HAPPENING IS THAT PAULIE IS EXPERIENCING SEXISM.

THAT KIND OF LEADS PAULIE ALSO IN ANOTHER DIRECTION.

I CAME TO THIS PLACE TO FIGHT DISCRIMINATION, WHICH I'M DOING, BOTH IN CLASS AND WITH THESE OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES.

AND I'M BEING TREATED LIKE A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN BECAUSE I'M A WOMAN.

TALK ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT MORE.

AGAIN, PAULIE GOES TO HOWARD LAW SCHOOL.

YOU TALK IN THE FILM, SHE'S ONE OF -- JUST A VERY SMALL -- OR ONE WOMAN THERE.

YOU WOULD THINK, ALL RIGHT, THIS WOULD BE AN EMBRACING ENVIRONMENT BECAUSE THE SCHOOL IS EDUCATING BLACK LAWYERS.

AND YET PAULIE RUNS SMACK INTO THIS -- ANOTHER BARRIER.

HOW WAS THAT ALL HANDLED, JULIE?

WHAT WAS PAULIE'S REACTION?

YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT REALLY SPOKE TO US IN THIS STORY IS HOW MUCH IT KIND OF WAS A PRECURSOR TO THE SAME KIND OF DISCRIMINATION THAT RUTH BADER GINSBURG FACED AT HARVARD ABOUT 16 OR 17 YEARS LATER.

AT THIS TIME, HARVARD WASN'T ACCEPTING WOMEN AT.

PAULIE SHOWED UP AT HOWARD LAW SCHOOL, SHOWS UP IN CLASSES, HAS A LOT TO SAY.

THIS IS A BRILLIANT LEGAL MIND.

IS RAISING A HAND IN CLASS.

THE PROFESSOR JUST DOESN'T CALL ON PAULIE.

THAT'S HOW THAT IS DEALT WITH.

PAULIE, WHO GREW UP IN AN EXTREMELY WOMAN EMBRACING, WOMEN RESPECTING HOUSEHOLD, RAISED MOSTLY BY WOMEN, IS REALLY TAKEN ABACK BY THIS.

COMING -- I CAME TO THIS PLACE FOR THE FORWARD THINKING CIVIL RIGHTS ATMOSPHERE.

HERE I AM BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST.

ULTIMATELY, PAULIE KIND OF PUSHED THROUGH THIS WITH GENIUS, BASICALLY.

BEING THE TOP STUDENT IN REALLY EVERY ENVIRONMENT PAULIE ENTERED.

EVENTUALLY, AS PAULIE SAID, AFTER I'M GETTING TOP OF THE CLASS, MURRAY, MURRAY, MURRAY, BECAUSE THEY POSTED GRADES SO ALL THE STUDENTS KNOW, SECOND YEAR THEY LET PAULIE TALK.

THERE'S ANOTHER BRIEF STORY THAT WE DIDN'T TELL IN THE FILM OF PAULIE IN ONE CLASS WHERE PAULIE IS BEING DISRESPECTED, IS TUTORING A BLIND STUDENT.

AT THE END OF THE SEMESTER, SCORES COME OUT NUMBER ONE, PAULIE, TWO THE BLIND STUDENT WHO PAULIE STUDENT.

THAT ALLOWED PAULIE TO BE THE PRESIDENT OF THE CLASS.

NORMALLY, THE RULE WAS, FIRST IN THE CLASS GETS TO BE PRESIDENT.

THEY WEREN'T GOING TO DO THAT WITH A WOMAN.

THAT CHANGED AND PAULIE GOT THAT HONOR AS WELL.

COMING OUT OF HOWARD AS THE TOP STUDENT, PAULIE RUNS INTO ANOTHER OBSTACLE THAT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THERE FOR A WHITE STUDENT OR A WHITE MALE STUDENT, RIGHT?

TELL THAT STORY ABOUT WHERE THE TOP STUDENT WOULD HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO HARVARD AND HOW THAT PLAYED OUT FOR PAULIE.

HARVARD HAD A PROGRAM WHERE EVERY YEAR THEY TOOK THE TOP STUDENT AT HOWARD LAW SCHOOL FOR AN ADDITIONAL STUDY AT HARVARD TO GET A MASTER'S.

AUTOMATICALLY, IT WOULD HAVE GONE TO PAULIE.

BUT ONCE AGAIN, PAULIE GETS A LETTER FROM THE ADMINISTRATION SAYING, WE ARE TERRIBLY SORRY BUT YOUR SEX PREVENTS US FROM ACCEPTING YOU.

HARVARD LAW SCHOOL DOESN'T ACCEPT WOMEN.

IT WILL BE ANOTHER SORT OF DECADE BEFORE HARVARD OPENS UP TO WOMEN.

THERE PAULIE IS AGAIN -- WINDS UP GOING TO BERKELEY LAW SCHOOL TO GET THE ADVANCED DEGREE AND THEN BECOMES THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL IN CALIFORNIA.

MOVES ON.

THAT'S THE THING ABOUT PAULIE'S STORY THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE.

DEFEAT AFTER DEFEAT, OBSTACLE AFTER OBSTACLE, AND YET THERE'S INNOVATION, CREATIVITY, PUSH BEYOND.

IT'S PRETTY THRILLING TO SEE HOW PAULIE FACES CHALLENGES AND COMES UP WITH EITHER A LEGAL THEORY OR AN UNBELIEVABLE POEM OR SOME OTHER WAY TO JUST PUSH THROUGH.

YOU MENTION THE POEM.

I WAS VERY MUCH STRUCK BY THE -- LET'S CALL THEM THE LYRICS OF THE POETRY PAULIE WROTE.

THEY WERE MUSICAL AND MAGICAL AND SO IMPORTANT AND RELEVANT.

AGAIN, A PART OF THE PAULIE MURRAY STORY I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT, THE POEM AND THE POETRY.

HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT, JULIE, TO PAULIE'S MAKEUP, TO WHO PAULIE WAS?

I THINK PAULIE WOULD SAY THAT WAS AT THE CORE OF WHO PAULIE WAS.

WE INCLUDE A GREAT MOMENT IN THE FILM WHERE PAULIE IS BEING INTERVIEWED IN 1970 BY PUBLIC RADIO POETRY HOST.

INTRODUCES PAULIE AS A LAWYER TURNED POET.

PAULIE SAYS, NO, NO, NO, I'M A POET TURNED LAWYER.

AS FAR AS PAULIE WAS CONCERNED -- WE HAVE INTERVIEWS WHERE PAULIE SAYS THIS -- BEING A WRITER AND POET WAS WHAT PAULIE WOULD REALLY WANT TO DO.

WHAT LED THIS INCREDIBLE WRITER INTO ACTIVISM AND LAW WAS JUST HAVING TO REALIZE, I HAVE TO FIGHT THESE OBSTACLES BEING PLACED IN FRONT OF ME.

PAULIE WOULD HAVE RATHER SPEND LIFE WRITING POETRY, MEMOIRS AS PAULIE PUBLISHED TWO INCREDIBLE MEMOIRS, A PERSONAL AND FAMILY ONE, IN THE 1950s AND ONE IN THE 1980s AS WELL AS THIS VOLUME OF POETRY, WHICH ARE GETTING PUBLISHED BY MAJOR PUBLISHING, GETTING FANTASTIC REVIEWS.

THIS COULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE GREAT 20th CENTURY WRITERS HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR ALL OF THE THWARTING BY THE OFTEN RACIST AND SEXIST INSTITUTIONS OF OUR COUNTRY.

THERE'S SO MUCH.

WE HAVE A LITTLE LESS THAN TWO MINUTES.

THERE'S SO MANY GREAT ELEMENTS TO THIS DOCUMENTARY.

THE RELATIONSHIP PAULIE DEVELOPS WITH ELEANOR ROOSEVELT WAS FASCINATING.

QUICKLY, FROM EACH OF YOU, WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW COMING INTO THIS THAT YOU TAKE AWAY AND THAT YOU HOPE THE VIEWERS WILL TAKE AWAY FROM THIS?

BETSY, YOU FIRST.

YEAH.

I THINK PAULIE'S PERSISTENCE, PAULIE'S CREATIVITY IN THE FACE OF OBSTACLES.

I JUST FOUND THAT SO MOVING.

HERE WAS A PERSON WHO JUST KEPT OPTIMISTIC POINT OF VIEW, KEPT PUSHING AND KEPT SUCCEEDING IN PAULIE'S OWN TERMS.

JULIE, HOW ABOUT YOU?

TO ME, PAULIE IS A REMINDER OF HOW MUCH WE DON'T KNOW AND UNDERSTAND ABOUT OUR OWN AMERICAN HISTORY.

THIS ISN'T -- PAULIE'S STORY IS INCREDIBLE.

WE WOULD BE SURPRISED IF PAULIE WAS THE ONLY MAGNIFICENT FIGURE OF THE 20th CENTURY THAT ISN'T TAUGHT IN SCHOOL.

IT'S A REMINDER HOW MUCH DIGGING WE NEED TO DO TO TEACH OUR HISTORY FULLY AND CORRECTLY.

ONCE AGAIN, THE FILM IS CALLED 'MY NAME IS PAULIE MURRAY.'

IT'S AIRING ON AMAZON PRIME.

IT'S A MARVELOUSLY COMPELLING AND ILLUMINATING STORY ABOUT A PERSON WHO WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT AND WE NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT.

IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO SEE THE TWO OF YOU.

YOU ALWAYS BRING MARVELLOUS PRODUCTS WITH YOU.

YOUR FILM MAKING IS SO WONDERFUL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO YOU ABOUT YOUR NEXT ONE.

BE WELL.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

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