Pauli Murray vs. Jane Crow


As a Black, queer, Southern woman, Pauli Murray endured a sinister combination of sexism and racism. She called this specific kind of discrimination Jane Crow, and no matter where Pauli  went, Jane Crow followed.

But Pauli refused to let that dictate her life. With the pen as her sword, Pauli fought to undermine Jane Crow’s grip on the lives of Black women, wielding the written word as a weapon for truthtelling.

As a legal scholar, she inspired the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and helped secure equal rights for women. As a poet, Murray has given hope and resilience to countless women of color ― offering messages of brave love and bold defiance that resonate today.

Episode transcript available here.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs: Fellow with the National Humanities Center, Black Feminist Scholar, poet, community organizer.

Serena Mayeri: Professor of law and history at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.


Thanks to the following for providing audio included in this episode:

  • The Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Llewellyn Smith - documentary director
  • Margo Guernsey - documentary producer