Pauli Murray home in Durham designated as a new National Historic Landmark

Durham–Her FBI file outlined why Pauli Murray shouldn’t be hired as general counsel for the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

She had been a member of the Communist Party of America in the 1930s. She had worn men’s clothing, claimed she was “homosexual” and tried to become a man.

She’d been arrested twice, once on a picket line and again when she wouldn’t move to a broken seat when a white passenger entered a bus, according to a 1967 memo.

Stephen Shulman, the commission’s chairman, noted that people interviewed commented favorably about her, but in light of the concerns raised by the background check “he stated that his problem was to determine how not to give Murray the job as general counsel.” She had been working as a consultant in the position for eight months, a memo states.

Fifty years later, another agency is honoring the same person that the memo discredited.

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(News & Observer, 1/12/2017)