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'The Firebrand and the First Lady'

Note: This segment originally aired February 19, 2016.

Pauli Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt could not have come from more different backgrounds. Murray was the granddaughter of a mixed-race slave, while Roosevelt’s ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

But the unlikely pair sustained a profound and decades-long friendship. They met by chance in 1935 when Murray was at a government-sponsored camp for unemployed women. They got to know one another through letters, and eventually their relationship transitioned from a political alliance to a true friendship.

The new book “The Firebrand and the First Lady” (Alfred A. Knopf/2016) is a dual biography of Murray and Roosevelt that traces their friendship from the Great Depression through the early days of the civil rights and women’s rights movement.

Host Frank Stasio talks with author Patricia Bell-Scott about her quest to tell their story. He is also joined by Barbara Lau, director of the Pauli Murray Project.

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.