Durham activist Pauli Murray elevated to Episcopal sainthood | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Durham activist Pauli Murray elevated to Episcopal sainthood

Posted by on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Pauli Murray - IMAGE COURTESY OF CAROLINA DIGITAL LIBRARY & ARCHIVES, UNC
  • Image courtesy of Carolina Digital Library & Archives, UNC
  • Pauli Murray

By the time the incense began burning to start the traditional service at St. Titus Episcopal Church Wednesday night, 300 people had crowded into a space capable of seating 100.

At the fourth annual celebration of Pauli Murray's life at St. Titus, community members crowded the church Murray worshipped at as a young girl to celebrate her new status as an Episcopal saint.

"There's a particular interest all over town and people are really hungry to know more about it," St. Titus Deacon Sarah Woodard said.

Murray was a leader in civil, women's, labor and LGBT rights. She also published literary works, such Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family, in 1956.

In 1977, Murray was ordained as the first female African-American Episcopal priest.

The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina announced Murray's sainthood earlier this month along with the addition of Virginia Dare and Manteo to the Episcopal Church Liturgical Calendar.

Each year, July 1 will be a day to remember and celebrate Murray's work and accomplishments.

In the Episcopal church, candidates for sainthood must be recommended to the main governing body of the whole church, called the General Convention. Recommendations must be of someone who has had “prior use,” meaning they have been recognized in a community before.

In Murray's case, the local Diocese sent a resolution to the General Convention, which referred the resolution to the Committee on Liturgy and Music. The group checks a person's background and history.

"When you lift up somebody as a virtuous person and you really want to emulate their life, you want to make sure they haven't been in the National Enquirer lately," Bishop Michael Curry said.

The resolution then moves on to the Convention's House of Deputies and House of Bishops, which must approve the resolution or recommendation. If approved, the person is then included in the church's book of saints, called Holy Women, Holy Men.

Some of Murray's distant relatives attended the ceremony to help commemorate her life. Stephanie Yarbrough Davis is Murray's third cousin. She said she's still learning more about Murray, despite having met her before Murray died in 1985.

"I'm learning that it's an honor (to be related to Murray) and we really have to learn how to honor the legacy she left us," Davis said.

For Davis, the most inspiring accomplishment of Murray's was her fight to take down a fence that separated whites and blacks in Maplewood Cemetery on Kent Street.

Murray didn't live to see the fence come down, but Davis said she was constantly pushing the younger generations to pursue the project.

"(When I first met her) I thought she was kind of mean ... because she was getting on our case about the cemetery," Davis said. "She was telling me that our generation was dropping the ball."

Eventually, the City of Durham removed the fence.

"(Pauli Murray) was one of these people who was a bridge person," Bishop Curry said. "She was a descendent of both slaves and slave owners, she was a woman long before her time who did things others said were impossible to do." Murray became one of the first African-American women lawyers; she worked in local underserved communities.

"(Murray) did all of that because she was a Christian. And in a time when the word 'Christian' has been held hostage by negativity and sometimes bigotry, it's time to raise up somebody who represents a way of being Christian that's grounded in the love and the justice and the compassion of the goodness of God," Bishop Curry said.

Murray's childhood house still stands in the West End of Durham on Carroll Street. The local Pauli Murray Project hopes to eventually turn the house into a functioning historic site.

This blog post appeared in print on Jul 25, 2012 with the headline "Sainthood suits her."

Tags: , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

Fine work, Mr. Billman. Your readers are probably aware that most of the NC conservative shenanigans can be laid at …

by growlybear on The Republican Power Plays at the Heart of N.C. Politics (News)

I have very little patience for the empty-headed Pro-poison crowd, which is begging the government to take everyones rights away …

by DoritoReiss on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

Most Recent Comments

Fine work, Mr. Billman. Your readers are probably aware that most of the NC conservative shenanigans can be laid at …

by growlybear on The Republican Power Plays at the Heart of N.C. Politics (News)

I have very little patience for the empty-headed Pro-poison crowd, which is begging the government to take everyones rights away …

by DoritoReiss on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

About time some one fixed this.

by Bob Schroeck on Durham Attorney Scott Holmes Challenges N.C. Court Fees as Unconstitutional (News)

And I'm just getting started- What do you think of a society that ritualizes placing its babies -their most vulnerable, …

by Nellie McFarlane De Jong on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

Feel free to put your faith in pharmaceutical products if you want to live like that. I prefer not to, …

by Nellie McFarlane De Jong on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation