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Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White

Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White

by Anne Firor Scott
Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White

Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White

by Anne Firor Scott

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Overview

In 1942 Pauli Murray, a young black woman from North Carolina studying law at Howard University, visited a constitutional law class taught by Caroline Ware, one of the nation's leading historians. A friendship and a correspondence began, lasting until Murray's death in 1985. Ware, a Boston Brahmin born in 1899, was a scholar, a leading consumer advocate, and a political activist. Murray, born in 1910 and raised in North Carolina, with few resources except her intelligence and determination, graduated from college at 16 and made her way to law school, where she organized student sit-ins to protest segregation. She pulled her friend Ware into this early civil rights activism. Their forty-year correspondence ranged widely over issues of race, politics, international affairs, and—for a difficult period in the 1950s—McCarthyism.In time, Murray became a labor lawyer, a university professor, and the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. Ware continued her work as a social historian and consumer advocate while pursuing an international career as a community development specialist. Their letters, products of high intelligence and a gift for writing, offer revealing portraits of their authors as well as the workings of an unusual female friendship. They also provide a wonderful channel into the social and political thought of the times, particularly regarding civil rights and women's rights.In 1942 Pauli Murray, a young black woman from North Carolina studying law at Howard University, visited a constitutional law class taught by Caroline Ware, one of the nation's leading historians. A friendship and a correspondence began, lasting until Murray's death in 1985. Their forty-year correspondence ranged widely over issues of race, politics, international affairs, and—for a difficult period in the 1950s—McCarthyism.In time, Murray became a labor lawyer, a university professor, and the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. Ware continued her work as a social historian and consumer advocate while pursuing an international career as a community development specialist. Their letters, products of high intelligence and a gift for writing, offer revealing portraits of their authors as well as the workings of an unusual female friendship. They also provide a wonderful view of the social and political thought of the times, particularly regarding civil rights and women's rights.Anne Firor Scott is recipient of a 2008 American Historical Association Award for Scholarly Distinction.—>



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807876732
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 09/15/2009
Series: Gender and American Culture
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 216
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Anne Firor Scott, pioneer historian of American women, is W. K. Boyd Professor Emerita of History at Duke University. Author of nine books, including Making the Invisible Woman Visible and Natural Allies: Women's Associations in American History, she is recipient of a 2008 American Historical Association Award for Scholarly Distinction.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Not only does Scott inspire readers to learn more about Ware and Murray, but she also teaches us about the challenges of using letters as a historical source. Overall, Scott's volume demonstrates how personal friendship helped sustain the public activism of intelligent, politically engaged women.—Journal of Southern History



Makes clear that these women's contributions to the long civil rights movement and second-wave feminism have not been sufficiently acknowledged. Scott's outstanding insight into Murray and Ware's personal lives and careers has resulted in a fond tribute to two women she admires.—North Carolina Historical Review



Scott has done a masterful job of selecting and editing [Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware's letters] and providing commentary that sets the correspondence in context. Her respect and fondness for her subjects is evident in the fair-handed way in which she describes their lives, both public and private.—Our State



The book provides . . . information, in the voices of two women who lived it, about life as a groundbreaker, an African American woman, a white woman, an academic, an activist, a historian, a Durhamite, a Bostonian—an American.—The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.



Writing across race and region, Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware forged an extraordinary friendship at the intersection of twentieth-century America's struggles for human rights and social justice. In Anne Firor Scott's edition of their correspondence, we see vividly the rising arc of feminism and civil rights to which these intellectually gifted women committed themselves, as well as the formidable obstacles they countered with an impassioned dedication. Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware is a splendid gift from one of our most influential historians of American women.—Mary Kelley, University of Michigan



Anyone interested in the progressive politics of race and gender in the middle years of the twentieth century owes a debt of gratitude to Anne Firor Scott for her edition of letters between Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware. The unusual two-sided nature of the volume brings to life two distinguished women intellectuals, one black, the other white, as well as a forty-year friendship based on affection, trust, and a shared commitment to social justice. That friendship saw them through the hazards of the McCarthy era (which adversely affected them both), the civil rights revolution (to which Murray made significant contributions), and the women's movement, in which each played a leadership role. Perhaps most of all, the letters document the difficulties that even the best educated women had in establishing themselves professionally in these years as well as the fierce determination that enabled Murray and Ware to carve out such singular careers.—Barbara Sicherman, Kenan Professor Emerita, Trinity College



Anyone interested in the progressive politics of race and gender in the middle years of the twentieth century owes a debt of gratitude to Anne Firor Scott for her edition of letters between Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware. The unusual two-sided nature of the volume brings to life two distinguished women intellectuals as well as a forty-year friendship based on affection, trust, and a shared commitment to social justice. Perhaps most of all, the letters document the difficulties that even the best educated women had in establishing themselves professionally in these years as well as the fierce determination that enabled Murray and Ware to carve out such singular careers.—Barbara Sicherman, Kenan Professor Emerita, Trinity College



Anne Scott has not only celebrated two remarkable women, one white, the other black, in this edition of their correspondence, but in the process has also underscored her own role as a very distinguished historian of women and of the South.—John Hope Franklin



This intriguing collection of letters, edited by one of our most distinguished American historians, follows the evolving relationship between two very unlikely 'sisters' whose friendship doesn't quite fit any mold we might cast to surround it.—Barbara Ransby, author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision

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