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Proud Shoes (Black Women Writers Series)

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807072097
ISBN-10: 0807072095
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A classic on the intertwining fictions of race and sex, the depth of their cruelty, and the strength that has defied them. Present-day America cannot be understood without true stories like the ones Murray tells."  —Gloria Steinem

"Pauli Murray is one of the founding leaders of the modern American women's movement, and I am glad to see her wonderful book in print again." —Betty Friedan

"Moving and remarkable.… Proud Shoes traps the beast of American slavery, in particular, the strange and tragic domestic struggle between master and slave, and the ironic 'gift of white blood' that still nourishes and suffocates many Americans." —Jack Hicks, The Nation

"A significant contribution to our understanding of the black experience in America.… Fascinating." —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

The Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray (1910–1985) was a lawyer and civil-rights activist, America's first black woman Episcopalian priest, and a founder of NOW.

Patricia Bell-Scott is professor of family and child development and women's studies at the University of Georgia. She was founding editor of SAGE: A Scholarly Journal on Women and has been a contributing editor to Ms. Magazine. She has published several books, including Life Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black Women, Double Stitch: Black Women Write About Mothers and Daughters, and Flat-footed Truths: Telling Black Women's Lives (with Dr. Juanita Johnson-Bailey).
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Product Details

  • Series: Black Women Writers Series
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (August 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807072095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807072097
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Pauli Murray was reared in an extraordinary extended family of Northern Freedmen who had come South after fighting with the Union Army & Southern aristocrats-Indians-Slaves. Her great-aunt donated the land in Chapel Hill on which sits the University which denied her admission.
This is a story of the courage of the "Yankee Schoolmarms" (including her Grandfather)who brought education to the newly freed slaves, and the courage of those who sought the education he offered. Her aunts also followed their father in lives devoted to education. One of the most moving moments in the book is when her Aunt Pauline read the Supreme Court's decision to integrate in 1954, the year before her death. "Thank G-d, I have lived to see this day," she said.
Murray's own life was more than worthy of the ambitions they instilled in her. This is the way an autobiographical family story _should_ be written: if only such writers were thick on the ground.
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Dr. Pauli Murray was a hero. One of my heroes, as it happens. This is the true story of her family's journey from enslavement to moral, intellectual and economic success. These are the people who, today, are becoming America. When Dr. Murray, a recent Yale Law School grad, applied to the Massachusetts bar she had to account for an arrest she had in another state in the 1940's. It seemed she was protesting civil right violations when Martin Luther King was in high school. Any laws she broke at the time - and she did - had since been rescinded or repealed. She was admitted to the bar, as well as to several university faculties, and eventually to the Episcopal priesthood. This is a significant historical figure about whom we all should know more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Truly extraordinary stuff by an excellent writer.
This woman wrote up background briefs for Thurgood Marshall when he was still with the NAACP, she organized the first restaurant sit-in's (in DC in early 1940's), she got the Army, during WWII, to make a first step toward placing segregated restaurants off limits for all personnel. She was a co-founder of NOW.
None of the above is in this book, it's the story of her family. If was not well received when published as miscegenation was a crime until the '70's in some places.
But it is an important book for today what with the interest in Jefferson's black descendants and the rediscovery that the Civil War was truly about slavery.
It would be a wonderful addition to University social justice curricula.
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This book is one that should be called both timely and timeless. I was profoundly moved by Murray's description - completely honest and brilliantly written - of her grandfather Robert Fitzgerald's experience during and following the Civil War. Likewise, although it was told only in vignettes through her eyes as a child, her description of how it felt to be a person of mixed race in the American South during the first half on the 20th Century is extraordinary and important.

At this point I need to explain how I discovered this book, which has had a profound effect on my own awareness of the realities of the racial situation in this country prior to my own experience of living and working in Tuskegee, AL, during the decade of most intense Civil Rights activity from 1966-1974. I am a committed fan of author Kittredge Cherry, whose novels "Jesus in Love" and "At the Cross" I have previously reviewed for Amazon. Cherry also has a blogspot, [...], which is extremely valuable in bringing to awareness many vital personalities and issues that are of great concern to me. On July 9th, this blog featured a brief discussion of Pauli Murray's life and accomplishments, and noted that the Episcopal Church was considering naming her as a Saint. The blog included mention of this book by Murray, which immediately motivated me to order it. It is a purchase I'm extremely delighted to have made.

Cherry's blog also posted the update two days later:

Murray was approved for inclusion in the Episcopal Church's book of saints, "Holy Women, Holy Men" in a vote late on July 11. She will be honored every July 1 on the church calendar.

If one believes, and I do, that the arc of history does in fact bend towards justice as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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this book cannot be recommended highly enough. it is readable non-fiction, written in an almost prose-like manner. I laughed, I cried and I shared my copy with loved ones. Should be read by anyone who wants to understand the struggles of race and sex both in the civil war times and today.
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A classic; the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray speaks to all of us in telling her carefully researched family story that embodied American History. Crucial reading for all of us to better understand our world beyond black and white.
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Format: Paperback
Proud Shoes is a moving tale of an African-American family from mid-nineteenth through mid-twentieth century. Pauli Murray writes vividly. Her story is one of triumph as she achieved personally and professionally. Her family's experiences also show the horror of how persons of color were treated, including the story of a neighbor boy who was killed by a white man who said he trespassed, but the crime was never prosecuted.

This is one of a group of books all Americans should read to understand our past and the courage of those who triumphed despite all obstacles.
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