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.
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.
Beltway Poetry Quarterly,
DC Places Issue
THE PAPER BOY
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.
Marin County, CA, June 29, 1958
1st Place, Split This Rock Poetry Contest,
judged by poet Chris Abani