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This gripping, dramatic narrative tells how little-known African-American activist Pauli Murray blazed through the barriers of race and gender decades before the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements. The grand-daughter of a woman born in bondage and a free man of color who fought for the Union, she fearlessly rode freight trains dressed as a boy during the Depression and befriended First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt before embarking on a pioneering life of social activism, legal scholarship, and many firsts. Pauli never faced a barrier she couldn’t smash through, and her life as a feminist, civil rights lawyer, poet, author, activist, and priest paved the way for all to live a life of equality and purpose.

My Books


Publish Date: 1 March 2022
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Simki Kuznick

I grew up in the Bay Area before I moved to Washington, DC where I was an editor in the Intelligence Community before I retired. I was a founding member of Interracial Pride in Berkeley, California while I was married to my first husband who is from Eritrea. We have two daughters, Asmara and Sara. I completed an MFA in Poetry at American University in 2010. My poetry is published as Simki Ghebremichael and recounts my travels to Ghana, Eritrea, Vietnam, India, Czech Republic, and Japan. I love language but am fluent in none, including Spanish, French, and Japanese. I am married to Peter Kuznick, co-author of The Untold History of the United States with Oliver Stone. We live in Maryland along with numerous reptiles and snakes. I have been learning about Pauli Murray ever since my dear friend, Bart Rousseve of New Orleans (d. 1993), gave me a copy of Proud Shoes in 1986. 

Simki Ghebremichael


Beltway Poetry Quarterly,

DC Places Issue


An employee of Bethel Baptist in Birmingham found a dynamite bomb beside the church and moved it to an open area where it exploded without injury.

-Independent Journal,

Marin County, CA, June 29, 1958 


1st Place, Split This Rock Poetry Contest,

judged by poet Chris Abani 

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