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A decade before Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus, Pauli Murray had already started protesting. Here's her story

A look at the life and ideas of Pauli Murray, a non-binary Black lawyer, activist and poet who influenced both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall. Amazon Studios is releasing MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY in theaters September 17 and on Prime Video October 1, 2021.

The documentary My Name is Pauli Murray is a missing piece of history that has not been taught in our classrooms. It amplifies the life of an African American female whose struggles pushed her to create everlasting change in our modern society.

My Name is Pauli Murray shares the life of Pauli Murray, an African American queer woman, who shattered the status quo by fighting for women’s and civil rights. She was a student, lawyer, minister and a heroine in many aspects. This documentary sheds light on all of her societal triumphs and personal defeats.

As an African American female, I felt a great sense of sadness after watching this documentary. This film shows that the society I currently live in is a direct result of Pauli Murray’s impact and yet, I never learned about her in school. Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen, producers and directors of the documentary RBG bring to live the legacy of a woman unknown to most people. There are little questions the audience has about her life after the film’s completion. One aspect I did not like is how the film breaks her life into phases of her career paths. This set-up hampers us from seeing the connection between her personal life and her careers. However, that may be due to my curiosity about knowing more about her and her life. My favorite part of this film is the repetition of the quote, “She was ahead of her time.” Pauli Murray refused to move to the back of a segregated bus 15 years before Rosa Parks did. Many people think that certain historical events, radical ideals, and justice comes with a timeframe when, in actuality it does not. That is what this film teaches us.

The message of this film is that you are not ahead of your time; it's just that the world may not be ready for you. Yet, soon enough, they will be. This film does contain violent scenes showing racial injustice.

I give My Name is Pauli Murray 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST!

  • Year
  • Runtime
    91 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Premiere
  • Rating
  • Director
    Julie Cohen, Betsy West
  • Screenwriter
    TAlleah Bridges McMahon, Julie Cohen, Cinque Northern, Betsy West, P
  • Producer
    Patricia Bell-Scott, Talleah Bridges McMahon,
  • Executive Producer
    Peggy Drexler, Diane Weyermann, Eve Plank, Jeff Skoll, Elise Pearlstein, Dana DiCarlo,
  • Co-Producer
    Claudia Lopez,
  • Cast
    Patricia Bell-Scott, Pauli Murray, Dolores Chandler, Brittney Cooper, Sonia Pressman Fuentes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Marghretta McBean, Ernest Meyers, Mary Norris ,
  • Cinematographer
    Jongnic Bontemps
  • Editor
    Cinque Northern
  • Animator
    Brian Carroll
  • Composer
    Jongnic Bontemps
  • Sound Design
    Hugh Boyle