Selected by Debie Thomas

Pauli Murray

Dark Testament Verse 8

Hope is a crushed stalk
Between clenched fingers
Hope is a bird’s wing
Broken by a stone.
Hope is a word in a tuneless ditty —
A word whispered with the wind,
A dream of forty acres and a mule,
A cabin of one’s own and a moment to rest,
A name and place for one’s children
And children’s children at last . . .
Hope is a song in a weary throat.
Give me a song of hope
And a world where I can sing it.
Give me a song of faith
And a people to believe in it.
Give me a song of kindliness
And a country where I can live it.
Give me a song of hope and love
And a brown girl’s heart to hear it.

Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray was an American civil rights activist, women’s rights activist, lawyer, Episcopal priest, and author. Drawn to the ministry, in 1977 Murray became the first black woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest and she was among the first group of women to become priests in that church. As a lawyer, Murray argued for civil rights and women’s rights. In addition to her legal and advocacy work, Murray published two well-reviewed autobiographies and a volume of poetry.

Debie Thomas: debie.thomas1@gmail.com

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