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Pauli Murray


We are spendthrifts with words,
We squander them,
Toss them like pennies in the air–
Arrogant words,
Angry words,
Cruel words,
Comradely words,
Shy words tiptoeing from mouth to ear.

But the slowly wrought words of love
and the thunderous words of heartbreak–
Those we hoard.

Anna Pauline "Pauli" Murray became the first black woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1977 and she was among the first group of women to become priests in that church. Over the course of her life she was an American civil rights activist, women's rights activist, lawyer, Episcopal priest, and author. As a lawyer, Murray argued for civil rights and women's rights. In addition to her legal and advocacy work, Murray published two well-reviewed autobiographies and a volume of poetry. She passed away in 1985 from pancreatic cancer.

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