Beyond Civil Rights: Pauli Murray’s Nonviolence
Gandhi coined the word satyagraha, or truth force, for his approach to nonviolent civil disobedience. Long before Martin Luther King gained fame for his version of Gandhian nonviolence, Pauli Murray used Gandhian satyagraha to fight racism in the United States. A crucial detail of the story of her arrest on that bus helps to explain why Murray’s many contributions to the civil rights movement have not received the recognition they deserve. When she was arrested, Murray was passing as a man. At a time when lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people faced severe repression within social justice movements, Murray had striven to keep her sexual identity private. Over a remarkably varied career—as an activist, lawyer, professor, and Episcopal Priest—Murray helped broaden the civil rights movement to include struggles against sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination, injustice, and inequality.
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