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8 Black Women of the Civil Rights Era Who Don’t Get the Praise They Deserve


Dr. Anna Pauline ‘Pauli’ Murray (Nov. 20, 1910 – July 1, 1985)
Pauli Murray was an American civil rights and women’s rights activist, lawyer and author. She wrote several important articles highlighting race relations during the Civil Rights era including  Negroes Are Fed Up in 1943. Murray was also a founding member of the National Organization for Women, a group that addressed issues of gender equality and women’s rights.

In 1977, Murray became the first African-American woman to become an Episcopal priest. Since her death in 1985, several books have been written highlighting her work, including Pauli Murray: The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest and Poet.


Septima Poinsette Clark (May 3, 1898 – Dec. 15, 1987)
Septima Clark was an American educator and civil rights activist. Clark developed the literacy and citizenship workshops that played an important role in the drive for voting rights and civil rights for African-Americans in the American Civil Rights Movement.

Clark, along with future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and others, worked on a 1945 case that sought equal pay for Black and white teachers. She described it as her “first effort in a social action challenging the status quo.” Her salary increased threefold when the case was won.

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