Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, Ms. Anna Pauline Murray refused to sit in the back and 20 years before the Greensboro sit-ins, she organized her own restaurant sit-ins in Washington, D.C. while still a student. The great-granddaughter of slaves and slave owners, “Pauli” Murray became an advisor to Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy and was an accomplished human rights activist, historian, attorney, poet and teacher. And yet, she is largely unknown.
The designation of Murray’s childhood home in Durham, North Carolina as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation is the first step in recognizing Murray’s national significance. Iron Mountain is pleased to support the funding for the preservation and renovation of Murray’s home.
A grant award was made to the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice (PMC) through Iron Mountain’s Living Legacy Initiative, which is the company’s commitment to preserve and make accessible cultural and historical information, world artifacts and treasures. Living Legacy seeks partnerships with museums and other nonprofit organizations to help them protect items of cultural significance and to create broader access to them.
The grant to PMC will sustain the foundation of the home and also allow for exterior renovations needed from lack of maintenance, demolition, neglect and water damage. This preservation will let future generations learn about Pauli Murray and give them access to her important historical contributions.
“Our Living Legacy Initiative gives us the opportunity to extend our charitable mission to non-profit organizations, like the Pauli Murray Center, that share our vision for cultural and historical preservation,” said Ty Ondatje, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer. “We passionately believe that everyone deserves equal access to the ideas and artifacts that compose our human experience, regardless of economic or geographic barriers, and we’re honored to be able to play a part in helping the Center preserve her childhood home and educate future generations about Pauli Murray’s legacy.”
Iron Mountain will celebrate the partnership during a ceremony on August 21 at the opening of the Pauli Murray: Imp, Crusader, Dude, Priest exhibition in the Cameron Gallery in Durham, NC. “Pauli Murray is an American hero whose life story is inspiring to everyone who believes in human rights for all,” said Mayme Webb-Bledsoe, board chair of the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, “and we are thrilled to be partnering with Iron Mountain to save her childhood home and advance her vision for equality and reconciliation.” To learn more about Pauli Murray and her inspiring list of contributions, visit the Pauli Murray Center’s website here.
Listen to a radio interview by WUNC with Barbara Lau, Director of the Pauli Murray Project; Courtney Reid-Eaton, Exhibitions Director at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies and Alisha Perdue, Manager of Community Engagement at Iron Mountain.