Pauli Murray Project advocates could take a significant step forward Tuesday in their quest to gain a National Historic Landmark designation for the childhood home of the attorney, priest and civil-rights activist.
On Tuesday morning, advocates will make their case to the National Parks Service’s Landmarks Committee, which reviews a National Historic Landmark nomination before making a recommendation to the National Park System Advisory Board. The meeting is in Washington, D.C.
If the committee recommends the designation, then the advisory board would consider the nomination at its Nov. 17-18 meeting in Philadelphia. Projects the board recommends will then go forward to the Secretary of the Interior, who will make the final decision, possibly before Jan. 20.
The Pauli Murray Project and other partners have been working toward national recognition for Murray’s story since a variety of entities acquired Murray’s childhood home at 906 Carroll St. in 2011.
Murray was raised in Durham in the modest house built in 1898. She organized civil-rights demonstrations in the 1940s and was a co-founder of the National Organization for Women. She was also the first female, African-American Episcopal priest.
Murray formulated a legal strategy that drew from the civil-rights movement to support women’s rights, said Barbara Lau, director of the Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center.
National Historic Landmarks are designated by the Secretary of the Interior because “they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States,” according to the National Park Service’s website. About 2,500 historic places have been designated, including 38 in North Carolina.
Only 3 percent of the landmarks nationwide are associated with women, or people of color, or people from the LGBTQ community, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which named the home a National Treasure in 2015.
The Pauli Murray Project has also been raising money to restore the home and open a community, history and social justice center in 2020.