Black History Month at VTS to Spotlight the Rev. Pauli Murray


Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Tel: 703-461-1782
Email: cprather@vts.edu

Alexandria, VA – Virginia Theological Seminary is proud to announce Ms. Barbara Lau, from the Pauli Murray Project, will be on the VTS campus Monday, February 11, to offer a lecture on “Pauli Murray: An Inspiration for Activism.”

The Rev. Dr. Anna Pauline Murray, the first African American woman to be ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church, was one of the major leaders of the civil rights movement and of women’s rights. As a lawyer she wrote the 1950 book State’s Laws on Race and Color, which Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall called the “bible” of the civil rights movement. In 1960 she was a co-founder of NOW, the National Organization for Women.

“I had the opportunity a year or two before (Pauli Murray) died in 1985 to be part of a Eucharist celebration where she presided and at a gathering of seminarians for discussion,” wrote Dr. Timothy Sedgwick, Vice President for Academic Affairs, in today’s Dean’s Commentary. “I felt here was a contemporary saint to be celebrated as a witness to us all.”

Sedgwick continued, “The lecture on Pauli Murray on February 11 is a good way to celebrate and pass on her legacy.”

Lau, who has more than twenty years of professional experience as a folklorist, oral historian, teacher, curator, radio producer and consultant, serves on the board of Arts North Carolina and as the president of the North Carolina Folklore Society. She is also the Director of the Pauli Murray Project, part of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, which seeks to activate history for social change through dialogue and education.

The “Pauli Murray: An Inspiration for Activism” lecture is part of a month of worship, exhibits and programs organized by the Seminary’s office for Racial and Ethnic Ministries, lead by the Rev. Joseph Constant, which concludes on February 28 with "A Positive Alternative to the School to Prison Pipeline" presented by the Rev. Angela Ifill (VTS’95).

Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women for service in the Church worldwide, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Currently, the Seminary represents more than 42 different dioceses and 5 different countries, for service in the Church.