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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Pauli Murray

During the late 1930s, black activists began calling for the integration of southern higher education. Working through the courts, these leaders focused on Chapel Hill in 1938 when Pauli Murray was denied admission to the graduate program in sociology. Murray was a descendent of a prominent Orange County white planter and a black slave. Some faculty members supported her case, but university policy required the administration to reject her. Later she and President Graham became friends. She recounted her experiences in the autobiography Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family (1956).