MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: October 14, 2021

Tonight, award-winning co-directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen join us to discuss their new film, "My Name Is Pauli Murray," which chronicles the life and legacy of the trailblazing civil rights leader.

AIRED: October 14, 2021 | 0:28:29
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

♪♪♪

>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH

RAFAEL ROMAN, JACK FORD AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

BY --

>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO

"METROFOCUS."

I'M JACK FORD.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT

FIGURES IN THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL

RIGHTS MAY WELL BE SOMEONE WHO

YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF.

PAULIE MURRAY, LAWYER, ACTIVIST

AND WRITER WAS AHEAD OF TIME.

ARGUED THAT SEPARATE BUT EQUAL

WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL TEN YEARS

BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT REACHED

THAT VERY SAME CONCLUSION.

PAULIE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST

LAWYERS TO ARGUE THAT WOMEN

SHOULD BE PROTECTED EQUALLY

UNDER THE 14th AMENDMENT.

IN ADDITION TO BEING A

TRAILBLAZER PROFESSIONALLY,

NEVER CONFORMING TO TRADITIONAL

GENDER ROLLS AND PAVING THE WAY

FOR QUEER AND GENDER

NON-CONFORMING ACTIVISTS TO

COME.

A NEW DOCUMENTARY, STREAMING ON

AMAZON PRIME, TELLS THE STORY,

LARGELY PAULIE'S OWN WORDS.

HERE IS A QUICK PREVIEW.

>> THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO

ARGUE YOU CANNOT TEACH AMERICAN

YOU HISTORY WALL STREET TEACHING

ABOUT PAULIE.

>> A WRITER, A LAWYER, A PRIEST,

A POET.

PAULIE WAS A FEISTY WOMAN.

>> MY NAME IS PAULIE MURRAY.

MY HISTORY HAS BEEN A STRUGGLE

IN A SOCIETY DOMINATED BY THE

IDEA THAT BLACKS WERE INFERIOR

TO WHITES AND WOMEN WERE

INFERIOR TO MEN.

>> PAULIE WAS WAY AHEAD OF THE

TIME.

>> I CHOSE FOR MY SENIOR PAPER

THIS.

MY ARGUMENT WENT TO THE SUPREME

COURT.

>> YOU SEE THE DIFFERENT FOLKS

IN THIS ROOM?

THAT'S MADE POSSIBLE BY PAULIE

MURRAY.

>> IF YOU RIP AWAY EVERYTHING,

OPPRESSION IS THE BUSINESS OF

NOT RESPECTING ONE'S PERSONHOOD.

FOR MY FIRST TWO YEARS, I WAS

THE ONLY WOMAN.

THEY DIDN'T LET ME TALK.

>> THURGOOD MARSHALL IS TALKING

ABOUT JIM CROW.

SHE SAYS, WHAT I'M EXPERIENCING

IS JANE CROW.

>> PAULIE MURRAY WAS NOT JUST AN

AMAZING LAWYER OR A BAD-ASS

FEMINIST BUT A QUEER NON-BINARY

PERSON.

>> THE TURMOIL AND THE

SUFFERING, THIS IS A FEELING I

KNOW WELL.

SCHOLARS WHO HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT

PAULIE LARGELY STILL USE

FEMININE PRONOUNS.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT PRONOUNCES

PAULIE WOULD SAY.

>> TRANS AND NON-BINARY PEOPLE

HAVE BEEN A PART.

OR DID YOU THINK YOUR GENERATION

INVENTED IT?

♪♪♪

>> THIS COUNTRY IS TO SURVIVE,

WE MUST LIVE TOGETHER IN

HARMONY.

>> PAULIE MAY NOT HAVE REALIZED

THEY WOULD BE A BEACON FOR SO

MANY FOLKS.

>> PAULIE'S TIME HAD NOT COME.

WE HAVE TO WORK FOR A WORLD IN

WHICH IT DOES COME.

>> YOU SAY I CAN'T, I WILL SHOW

YOU I CAN, EVEN IF I DIE TRYING.

>> JOINING ME TO DISCUSS THIS

NEW DOCUMENT AND THE LIFE AND

LEGACY OF PAULIE MURRAY, THE

AWARD WINNING CO-DIRECTORS OF

"MY NAME IS PAULIE MURRAY."

BETSY, JULIE, GOOD TO HAVE YOU

HERE WITH US.

>> NICE TO SEE YOU.

>> NICE TO BE HERE.

>> LET'S START OFF WITH THE

QUESTION THAT'S ALWAYS ASKED OF

PEOPLE INVOLVED IN

DOCUMENTARIES.

THAT IS, WHY THIS SUGGEST PAULIE

MURRAY, AND WHY NOW?

BETSY, YOU START.

>> YEAH.

WHEN JULIE AND I WERE MAKING THE

DOCUMENTARY "RBG," WE LEARNED

THAT JUSTICE GINSBURG GAVE

PAULIE MURRAY CREDIT FOR COMING

UP WITH THE VERY INNOVATIVE IDEA

OF HOW TO WIN EQUALITY FOR

AMERICAN WOMEN.

IT WAS REALLY AFTER THAT THAT WE

LOOKED INTO PAULIE.

IT DIDN'T TAKE LONG TO DISCOVER

THE INCREDIBLE SWEEP OF THERE

PERSON'S LIFE, THE INFLUENCE ON

THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, THE

WRITING, THE POETRY, THE FACT

THAT PAULIE MURRAY BECAME THE

FIRST FEMALE IDENTIFIED

AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL

PRIEST LATER IN LIFE AND SO MANY

MORE THINGS.

WE WERE JUST KIND OF AMAZED AND

THOUGHT, WHY DIDN'T ANYBODY TELL

US ABOUT THIS PERSON?

THAT WAS REALLY THE BEGINNING OF

THINKING ABOUT MAKING A

DOCUMENTARY.

>> EACH CHAPTER OF PAULIE'S LIFE

IS FASCINATING.

IT FEELS LIKE IT COULD BE A

DOCUMENTARY IN AND OF ITSELF.

OF COURSE, PAULIE MURRAY HAD

BEEN GONE FOR 35 YEARS WHEN WE

STARTED OUR PROJECT.

WE STARTED DOING A LITTLE

RESEARCH.

THE QUESTION WAS, WOULD THERE BE

THE MATERIAL TO DO A KIND OF

LIVING, BREATHING FILM ABOUT

THIS PERSON?

THAT QUESTION WAS ACTUALLY

ANSWERED IN EFFECT BY PAULIE

MURRAY WHO HAD SAVED NOT ONLY

141 BOXES WORTH OF PAPERS, LEGAL

WRITINGS, DRAFTS OF THINGS,

PERSONAL JOURNALS, BUT ALSO MORE

THAN 800 EXTRAORDINARY

PHOTOGRAPHS OF AND BY PAULIE AND

MORE THAN 40 HOURS OF AUDIOTAPE

RECORDING IN WHICH PAULIE IS,

YOU KNOW, TELLING THIS

INCREDIBLY RICH LIFE STORY.

WE LATER CAME ACROSS VIDEO.

BUT WE LAUNCHED INTO OUR PROJECT

ONCE WE STARTED HEARING THIS

REMARKABLE AUDIO OF THIS

INCREDIBLE HISTORICAL FIGURE

DESCRIBING EVENTS KIND OF IN

THIS EVOCATIVE LANGUAGE THAT

MADE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE

THERE AND MADE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU

WERE A STUDENT OF PAULIE MURRAY,

IN EFFECT.

>> IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE YOU

SAY, WHY DIDN'T WE KNOW ABOUT

HER?

I MENTIONED THIS TO THE TWO OF

YOU BEFORE.

I GRADUATED FROM YALE.

I'VE BEEN TEACHING AT YALE FOR

15 YEARS.

YALE FAIRLY RECENTLY NAMED ONE

RESIDENTIAL COLLEGES AFTER

PAULIE MURRAY.

YOU TALK ABOUT IN THE FILM, WENT

BACK TO THE LAW SCHOOL FOR A

DOCTORATE.

WHEN THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT

NAMES, I REMEMBER -- I KNEW

SOMETHING ABOUT PAULIE MURRAY.

NOT MUCH.

WHEN I DELVED INTO IT AND FOUND

ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU TALK

ABOUT NOW -- YOU KNOW THE LAWYER

PART AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST.

THE POET, THE PRIEST, ALL OF

THESE LAYERS OF PAULIE MURRAY

THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT I

THINK WERE JUST ASTONISHING.

LET ME COME BACK TO WHAT YOU

TALKED ABOUT HERE.

THE FILM OPENS UP WITH THIS SORT

OF A HOME MOVIE KIND OF THING, I

GUESS YOU COULD CALL IT, OF

PAULIE MURRAY TALKING.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE IN TERMS OF

STRUCTURE OF THE DOCUMENTARY,

NOT TO HAVE A VOICE OF GOD

NARRATOR TELLING THE STORY, BUT

SORT OF LETTING PAULIE MURRAY

TELL THE STORY?

BETSY?

>> YEAH.

THAT WAS A VERY DELIBERATE

DECISION, AS YOU NOTED, JACK.

WE REALLY WANTED THIS TO BE IN

PAULIE'S VOICE.

PAULIE'S VOICE WAS AMAZING.

WHEN WE FOUND THAT VIDEO, WHICH

WAS ACTUALLY A KIND OF -- AN

INTERVIEW THAT A STUDENT HAD

DONE IN THE 1970s TALKING ABOUT

FEMINISM MOSTLY AND PAULIE AS AN

EPISCOPAL PRIEST.

IT HAD BEEN DROPPED OFF IN

HARVARD.

WHEN WE GOT IT DIGITALIZED, WE

SAW THE QUALITY IS NOT GREAT.

WE WERE DISAPPOINTED.

WHEN WE SAW PAULIE'S SMILE AND

THE OFF INTERVIEW IMPROMPTU

MOMENTS WITH THE BELOVED DOG AND

FEROCIOUSLY TYPING ON THE

TYPEWRITER, WE FELT IT WAS

REALLY A WAY TO HELP BRING THIS

PERSON ALIVE AND TO SHOW THE

HUMAN BEING BEHIND WHAT IS AN

EXTRAORDINARY BIOGRAPHY.

YES, IT WAS A PRETTY DELIBERATE

DECISION TO LEAN INTO PAULIE.

>> ONE OF THE THINGS I WANT TO

ASK -- JULIE, LET ME ASK YOU

THIS.

WE TALK ABOUT GENDER

NON-CONFORMING, WAY BACK WHEN.

I WILL ASK YOU MORE ABOUT THAT

IN HER WRITINGS OR THE ABSENCE

OF PUBLIC WRITINGS.

I SAY HER BECAUSE YOU SEE IN THE

FILM, YOU SEE FAMILY AND FRIENDS

USING SHE OR HER AND THEY AND

THEIR.

THAT SORT OF ILLUSTRATES WHAT WE

ARE SEEING IN THE FILM.

IN LOOKING AT THAT, WHY DID YOU

DECIDE GENERALLY SPEAKING TO

COME DOWN ON ONE AREA, THEY AND

THEIR, AS OPPOSED TO SHE AND HER

WE HEAR SOME OF THE PEOPLE USING

IN THE FILM.

>> IT'S A TOUGH QUESTION.

WE ACTUALLY -- PAULIE GOING BACK

AS EARLY AS THE LATE '30s WAS

APPROACHING DOCTORS SAYING, I

THINK I'M A MAN.

I UNDERSTAND I PRESENT AND AM

CONSIDERED IN YOUR RECORDS TO BE

FEMALE.

BUT IS IT POSSIBLE TO GIVE ME

TESTOSTERONE TREATMENT?

COULD YOU DO SURGERY AND CHECK

WHETHER I MIGHT HAVE UNDESCENDED

TESTEES?

QUESTIONS THAT WERE NOT

INCORRECT AS SOMETHING TO

EXPLORE.

AT THE TIME, WHEN THERE WAS NO

LANGUAGE OR UNDERSTANDING OF

TRANSGENDER PEOPLE, THE DOCTORS

BASICALLY COMPLETELY DISMISSED

PAULIE.

SAID SCIENCE ISN'T IN KEEPING

WITH YOUR CONCLUSION.

WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE

TALKING ABOUT.

A PAINFUL EXPERIENCE FOR PAULIE.

WE UNDERSTOOD PAULIE -- IT'S A

TOUGH POSITION TO LOOK BACK INTO

HISTORY.

PAULIE MOST LIKELY -- WAS GENDER

NON-CONFORMING.

WAS A TRANS MAN OR NON-BINARY

PERSON.

WE CHOSE NOT TO MAKE A DECISION

FOR THE FILM.

EVERY TIME THERE'S WRITING ON

THE SCREEN IDENTIFYING PAULIE,

WE JUST CALL PAULIE PAULIE.

PEOPLE WE INTERVIEW IN THE FILM,

ANYONE WHO KNEW PAULIE IN

TIMES -- THEY KNEW HER AS A

WOMAN AND CALLED PAULIE HER.

HOWEVER, TODAY'S TRANS

COMMUNITY, MANY OF WHOM FEEL A

DEEP CONNECTION TO PAULIE AS

LIKE AN INCREDIBLE HISTORICAL

GENDER NON-CONFORMING PERSON

WHOSE HISTORY REALLY MEANS SO

MUCH AND COULD HAVE DONE SO MUCH

TO LEARN IN SCHOOL, FEEL THAT

USING THEY/THEM CREATES A MORE

EXPANSIVE IDENTITY FOR PAULIE

THAT ALLOWS KIND OF FOR

MULTITUDES AS RAQUEL WILLIS, AS

ONE OF THE TRANS WOMEN IN OUR

FILM SAYS.

IT'S ACTUALLY NOT A QUESTION WE

WILL KNOW THE ANSWER TO, IF

PAULIE WERE ALIVE TODAY, WHAT

WOULD BE THE PRONOUN CHOICE.

WE'RE ALL JUST KIND OF DOING THE

BEST WE CAN.

WHEN WE ARE DISCUSSING IT, TRY

TO CALL PAULIE PAULIE BECAUSE

THAT'S A NAME PAULIE -- BORN

ANNA

ANNA PAULINE.

>> THE INTERSECTION OF PAULIE

MURRAY WITH SO MANY OTHER

LUMINARIES.

YOU TALKED ABOUT RUTH BADER

GINSBURG.

I WILL ASK ABOUT -- TALK ABOUT

THURGOOD MARSHALL.

THURGOOD MARSHALL BECOMES THE

FIRST BLACK JUSTICE OF THE U.S.

SUPREME COURT.

PAULIE MURRAY COMES IN CONTACT

WITH THURGOOD MARSHALL EARLY ON

IN BOTH OF THEIR CAREERS.

TELL THAT STORY.

>> YEAH.

IN 1940, PAULIE MURRAY WAS

TRAVELING FROM NEW YORK WHERE

PAULIE LIVED AT THE TIME, DOWN

TO NORTH CAROLINA, WHERE PAULIE

HAD GROWN UP, WITH A FRIEND.

THEY CROSSED THE BORDER INTO

VIRGINIA AND ARE TOLD, AS IS THE

CUSTOM AND THE LAW, TO MOVE TO

THE BACK OF THE BUS.

WHEN THEY MOVED TO THE BACK,

THE SEAT THERE IS BROKEN.

THERE'S AN EMPTY SEAT A LITTLE

FORWARD IN THE WHITE SECTION.

THE BUS DRIVER CALLS THE POLICE.

THEY ARE ARRESTED.

PAULIE REACHES OUT TO THE NAACP,

AFTER A NIGHT IN PRISON MEETS

THURGOOD MARSHALL AND OTHER

LAWYERS, WHICH IS PAULIE'S FIRST

INTRODUCTION TO THE WORKINGS OF

THE LAW.

THEY ARE STRATEGIZING HOW TO

FIGHT THIS CASE.

PAULIE AND THE NAACP ULTIMATELY

WOULD LIKE TO OVERTURN THESE

LAWS.

IT BECOMES A SMALLER CASE WHEN

THE JUDGE DISMISSES THAT ASPECT

OF IT AND JUST SAYS, LOOK, YOU

WERE DISTURBING THE PEACE AND

TIME SERVED AND GOOD-BYE.

THAT WAS SORT OF THE BEGINNING

OF PAULIE'S INTERACTION WITH THE

NAACP AND THURGOOD MARSHALL.

LATER ON, THROUGH PAULIE'S

PROFESSOR AT HOWARD LAW SCHOOL,

PAULIE LEARNS THAT THE THESIS

THAT PAULIE WROTE ABOUT FIGHTING

THIS AND JUST BASICALLY RIPPING

APART SEPARATE BUT EQUAL, THE

ARGUMENT THAT THERE CAN BE NO

EQUAL WHEN THERE IS SEPARATION,

AN ARGUMENT IN 1943, HER

CLASSMATES AND PROFESSORS WERE

LAUGHING AT, THIS VERY ARGUMENT

IS MADE BY THURGOOD MARSHALL IN

BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION AND

PAULIE'S PROFESSOR TELLS PAULIE,

YEAH, WE DUSTED OFF THAT THESIS

AND USED IT.

>> IT'S ALMOST AS IF PAULIE

MURRAY WAS -- I DON'T MEAN TO

DIMINISH ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

ALMOST THE FOREST GUMP AND

SHOWING UP IN ALL OF THE PLACES

AND INTERACTING WITH SIGNIFICANT

NAMES IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS

MOVEMENT.

WHAT THEN PROMPTS PAULIE MURRAY

TO DECIDE, I'M GOING TO BE ONE

OF THESE THURGOOD MARSHALL

CHAMPIONS.

I'M GOING TO LAW SCHOOL MYSELF

AND SEE WHAT I CAN DO ABOUT IT.

HOW DOES THAT COME ABOUT?

>> PAULIE'S DECISION TO GO TO

LAW SCHOOL IN THE EARLY 1940s

STEMMED FROM A NUMBER OF THINGS.

AFTER GRADUATING FROM HUNTER

COLLEGE IN NEW YORK APPLIED TO

GET A MASTER'S DEGREE AT THE

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA.

A UNIVERSITY, BY THE WAY, WHERE

PAULIE'S WHITE ANCESTORS --

BECAUSE PAULIE HAD RACIALLY

MIXED BACKGROUND AS IS SO COMMON

IN THE SOUTH AND ELSEWHERE.

ONE OF PAULIE'S ANCESTORS HAD

BEEN A TRUSTEE OF UNC.

PAULIE SEES UNC IS STARTING TO

DO SOME CLASSES DEALING WITH THE

ISSUE OF RACE IN AMERICA AND

THINKS, MAYBE THIS ALL WHITE

UNIVERSITY IS READY FOR A BLACK

STUDENT.

APPLIES FOR A MASTER'S DEGREE.

GETS A QUICK LETTER BACK FROM

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY

SAYING, THE CONSTITUTION OF THE

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA AND OUR

SCHOOL PROHIBIT BLACK STUDENTS

FROM ENTERING THIS COLLEGE.

VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD.

THERE'S -- THERE'S LETTERS TO

PAPERS AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS.

SHORTLY THEREAFTER IS THE ARREST

ON THE BUS.

PAULIE IS THINKING, WHAT DO I

DO -- AT THIS POINT PAULIE IS A

LABOR ACTIVIST AND THINKS, THE

THING THAT NEEDS TO MOVE

FORWARD -- PAULIE'S ATTEMPT TO

FIGHT THE BUS JAILING BY SAYING

WE SHOULD OVERTURN ALL

SEGREGATION LAWS IS BASICALLY

THWARTED WITHIN THE LEGAL

SYSTEM.

PAULIE IS THINKING, THIS MAY BE

THE WAY TO GO.

WHAT I'M GOING TO DO IS GO TO

THE PREEMINENT CIVIL RIGHTS LAW

INSTITUTION IN OUR COUNTRY,

HOWARD LAW SCHOOL, WHERE PAULIE

WAS AT FIRST ONE OF TWO AND

ULTIMATELY THE ONLY WOMAN

STUDENT IN THE CLASS, WHICH WILL

GIVE ME EXPOSURE TO THE GREAT

CIVIL RIGHTS LEGAL MINDS OF THE

GENERATION, THURGOOD MARSHALL

WHO WAS TEACHING AT HOWARD AT

THE TIME AS WELL AS SPOTSWOOD

ROBINSON, ANOTHER GREAT LEGAL

MIND.

>> TO SEE HER PROGRESSION -- A

REMINDER, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT

THE NEW DOCUMENTARY TITLED "MY

NAME IS PAULIE MURRAY," AIRING

ON AMAZON PRIME, TALKING WITH AT

WARD WINNING CO-DIRECTORS ABOUT

ALL OF THAT.

SHE DECIDES, I'M GOING TO TAKE

THIS PATH.

PAULIE, SHE, THEY, DECIDE, I'M

GOING TO TAKE THIS PATH AND SETS

OFF TO HOWARD LAW SCHOOL.

EVEN IN LAW SCHOOL IS AN

ACTIVIST.

THE FILM TALKS ABOUT A SIT-IN

EARLIER THAN THE SIT-INS WE

REMEMBER HERE.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

>> YEAH.

IT'S THE EARLY 1940s.

PAULIE LEADS A GROUP OF STUDENTS

FROM HOWARD IN A PROTEST OF

RESTAURANTS IN THE NEARBY

NEIGHBORHOOD WHICH ARE

SEGREGATED.

AND THEY GO IN AND POLITELY SIT

DOWN AND OVER JUST A COUPLE OF

DAYS, THE RESTAURANTS RELENT,

AND THEY ARE OPENED UP TO

AFRICAN-AMERICANS.

IT REALLY IS WAY AHEAD OF THE

TIME.

YOU KNOW, 17 YEARS BEFORE THE

SIT-INS WE KNOW ABOUT IN MODERN

CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

THE OTHER THING THAT IS

HAPPENING IS THAT PAULIE IS

EXPERIENCING SEXISM.

THAT KIND OF LEADS PAULIE ALSO

IN ANOTHER DIRECTION.

I CAME TO THIS PLACE TO FIGHT

DISCRIMINATION, WHICH I'M DOING,

BOTH IN CLASS AND WITH THESE

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES.

AND I'M BEING TREATED LIKE A

SECOND CLASS CITIZEN BECAUSE I'M

A WOMAN.

>> TALK ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT

MORE.

AGAIN, PAULIE GOES TO HOWARD LAW

SCHOOL.

YOU TALK IN THE FILM, SHE'S ONE

OF -- JUST A VERY SMALL -- OR

ONE WOMAN THERE.

YOU WOULD THINK, ALL RIGHT, THIS

WOULD BE AN EMBRACING

ENVIRONMENT BECAUSE THE SCHOOL

IS EDUCATING BLACK LAWYERS.

AND YET PAULIE RUNS SMACK INTO

THIS -- ANOTHER BARRIER.

HOW WAS THAT ALL HANDLED, JULIE?

WHAT WAS PAULIE'S REACTION?

>> YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE OF THE

THINGS THAT REALLY SPOKE TO US

IN THIS STORY IS HOW MUCH IT

KIND OF WAS A PRECURSOR TO THE

SAME KIND OF DISCRIMINATION THAT

RUTH BADER GINSBURG FACED AT

HARVARD ABOUT 16 OR 17 YEARS

LATER.

AT THIS TIME, HARVARD WASN'T

ACCEPTING WOMEN AT.

PAULIE SHOWED UP AT HOWARD LAW

SCHOOL, SHOWS UP IN CLASSES, HAS

A LOT TO SAY.

THIS IS A BRILLIANT LEGAL MIND.

IS RAISING A HAND IN CLASS.

THE PROFESSOR JUST DOESN'T CALL

ON PAULIE.

THAT'S HOW THAT IS DEALT WITH.

PAULIE, WHO GREW UP IN AN

EXTREMELY WOMAN EMBRACING, WOMEN

RESPECTING HOUSEHOLD, RAISED

MOSTLY BY WOMEN, IS REALLY TAKEN

ABACK BY THIS.

COMING -- I CAME TO THIS PLACE

FOR THE FORWARD THINKING CIVIL

RIGHTS ATMOSPHERE.

HERE I AM BEING DISCRIMINATED

AGAINST.

ULTIMATELY, PAULIE KIND OF

PUSHED THROUGH THIS WITH GENIUS,

BASICALLY.

BEING THE TOP STUDENT IN REALLY

EVERY ENVIRONMENT PAULIE

ENTERED.

EVENTUALLY, AS PAULIE SAID,

AFTER I'M GETTING TOP OF THE

CLASS, MURRAY, MURRAY, MURRAY,

BECAUSE THEY POSTED GRADES SO

ALL THE STUDENTS KNOW, SECOND

YEAR THEY LET PAULIE TALK.

THERE'S ANOTHER BRIEF STORY THAT

WE DIDN'T TELL IN THE FILM OF

PAULIE IN ONE CLASS WHERE PAULIE

IS BEING DISRESPECTED, IS

TUTORING A BLIND STUDENT.

AT THE END OF THE SEMESTER,

SCORES COME OUT NUMBER ONE,

PAULIE, TWO THE BLIND STUDENT

WHO PAULIE STUDENT.

THAT ALLOWED PAULIE TO BE THE

PRESIDENT OF THE CLASS.

NORMALLY, THE RULE WAS, FIRST IN

THE CLASS GETS TO BE PRESIDENT.

THEY WEREN'T GOING TO DO THAT

WITH A WOMAN.

THAT CHANGED AND PAULIE GOT THAT

HONOR AS WELL.

>> COMING OUT OF HOWARD AS THE

TOP STUDENT, PAULIE RUNS INTO

ANOTHER OBSTACLE THAT WOULD NOT

HAVE BEEN THERE FOR A WHITE

STUDENT OR A WHITE MALE STUDENT,

RIGHT?

TELL THAT STORY ABOUT WHERE THE

TOP STUDENT WOULD HAVE AN

OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO HARVARD AND

HOW THAT PLAYED OUT FOR PAULIE.

>> HARVARD HAD A PROGRAM WHERE

EVERY YEAR THEY TOOK THE TOP

STUDENT AT HOWARD LAW SCHOOL FOR

AN ADDITIONAL STUDY AT HARVARD

TO GET A MASTER'S.

AUTOMATICALLY, IT WOULD HAVE

GONE TO PAULIE.

BUT ONCE AGAIN, PAULIE GETS A

LETTER FROM THE ADMINISTRATION

SAYING, WE ARE TERRIBLY SORRY

BUT YOUR SEX PREVENTS US FROM

ACCEPTING YOU.

HARVARD LAW SCHOOL DOESN'T

ACCEPT WOMEN.

IT WILL BE ANOTHER SORT OF

DECADE BEFORE HARVARD OPENS UP

TO WOMEN.

THERE PAULIE IS AGAIN -- WINDS

UP GOING TO BERKELEY LAW SCHOOL

TO GET THE ADVANCED DEGREE AND

THEN BECOMES THE FIRST

AFRICAN-AMERICAN DEPUTY ATTORNEY

GENERAL IN CALIFORNIA.

MOVES ON.

THAT'S THE THING ABOUT PAULIE'S

STORY THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE.

DEFEAT AFTER DEFEAT, OBSTACLE

AFTER OBSTACLE, AND YET THERE'S

INNOVATION, CREATIVITY, PUSH

BEYOND.

IT'S PRETTY THRILLING TO SEE HOW

PAULIE FACES CHALLENGES AND

COMES UP WITH EITHER A LEGAL

THEORY OR AN UNBELIEVABLE POEM

OR SOME OTHER WAY TO JUST PUSH

THROUGH.

>> YOU MENTION THE POEM.

I WAS VERY MUCH STRUCK BY THE --

LET'S CALL THEM THE LYRICS OF

THE POETRY PAULIE WROTE.

THEY WERE MUSICAL AND MAGICAL

AND SO IMPORTANT AND RELEVANT.

AGAIN, A PART OF THE PAULIE

MURRAY STORY I KNEW NOTHING

ABOUT, THE POEM AND THE POETRY.

HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT, JULIE,

TO PAULIE'S MAKEUP, TO WHO

PAULIE WAS?

>> I THINK PAULIE WOULD SAY THAT

WAS AT THE CORE OF WHO PAULIE

WAS.

WE INCLUDE A GREAT MOMENT IN THE

FILM WHERE PAULIE IS BEING

INTERVIEWED IN 1970 BY PUBLIC

RADIO POETRY HOST.

INTRODUCES PAULIE AS A LAWYER

TURNED POET.

PAULIE SAYS, NO, NO, NO, I'M A

POET TURNED LAWYER.

AS FAR AS PAULIE WAS

CONCERNED -- WE HAVE INTERVIEWS

WHERE PAULIE SAYS THIS -- BEING

A WRITER AND POET WAS WHAT

PAULIE WOULD REALLY WANT TO DO.

WHAT LED THIS INCREDIBLE WRITER

INTO ACTIVISM AND LAW WAS JUST

HAVING TO REALIZE, I HAVE TO

FIGHT THESE OBSTACLES BEING

PLACED IN FRONT OF ME.

PAULIE WOULD HAVE RATHER SPEND

LIFE WRITING POETRY, MEMOIRS AS

PAULIE PUBLISHED TWO INCREDIBLE

MEMOIRS, A PERSONAL AND FAMILY

ONE, IN THE 1950s AND ONE IN THE

1980s AS WELL AS THIS VOLUME OF

POETRY, WHICH ARE GETTING

PUBLISHED BY MAJOR PUBLISHING,

GETTING FANTASTIC REVIEWS.

THIS COULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE

GREAT 20th CENTURY WRITERS HAD

IT NOT BEEN FOR ALL OF THE

THWARTING BY THE OFTEN RACIST

AND SEXIST INSTITUTIONS OF OUR

COUNTRY.

>> THERE'S SO MUCH.

WE HAVE A LITTLE LESS THAN TWO

MINUTES.

THERE'S SO MANY GREAT ELEMENTS

TO THIS DOCUMENTARY.

THE RELATIONSHIP PAULIE DEVELOPS

WITH ELEANOR ROOSEVELT WAS

FASCINATING.

QUICKLY, FROM EACH OF YOU, WHAT

DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU DIDN'T

KNOW COMING INTO THIS THAT YOU

TAKE AWAY AND THAT YOU HOPE THE

VIEWERS WILL TAKE AWAY FROM

THIS?

BETSY, YOU FIRST.

>> YEAH.

I THINK PAULIE'S PERSISTENCE,

PAULIE'S CREATIVITY IN THE FACE

OF OBSTACLES.

I JUST FOUND THAT SO MOVING.

HERE WAS A PERSON WHO JUST KEPT

OPTIMISTIC POINT OF VIEW, KEPT

PUSHING AND KEPT SUCCEEDING IN

PAULIE'S OWN TERMS.

>> JULIE, HOW ABOUT YOU?

>> TO ME, PAULIE IS A REMINDER

OF HOW MUCH WE DON'T KNOW AND

UNDERSTAND ABOUT OUR OWN

AMERICAN HISTORY.

THIS ISN'T -- PAULIE'S STORY IS

INCREDIBLE.

WE WOULD BE SURPRISED IF PAULIE

WAS THE ONLY MAGNIFICENT FIGURE

OF THE 20th CENTURY THAT ISN'T

TAUGHT IN SCHOOL.

IT'S A REMINDER HOW MUCH DIGGING

WE NEED TO DO TO TEACH OUR

HISTORY FULLY AND CORRECTLY.

>> ONCE AGAIN, THE FILM IS

CALLED "MY NAME IS PAULIE

MURRAY."

IT'S AIRING ON AMAZON PRIME.

IT'S A MARVELOUSLY COMPELLING

AND ILLUMINATING STORY ABOUT A

PERSON WHO WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT

AND WE NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT.

IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO SEE

THE TWO OF YOU.

YOU ALWAYS BRING MARVELLOUS

PRODUCTS WITH YOU.

YOUR FILM MAKING IS SO

WONDERFUL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING

US.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO

YOU ABOUT YOUR NEXT ONE.

BE WELL.

>> THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU.

>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

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