Pauli Murray is perhaps the most consequential queer, nonbinary, POC pioneer you’ve never heard of. The new Amazon Original Documentary My Name Is Pauli Murray — which tells the story of their extraordinary journey from Black kid growing up in the segregated South to a trailblazing advocate who helped shape legislation around race and gender equality — aims to correct that.
Without question, Murray lived an exceptional life. They were a nonbinary Black activist, lawyer, priest, and poet whose work impacted everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt to Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They were the first Black person to receive a doctorate from Yale Law School, and their book States’ Laws on Race and Color, written in 1950, was cited by Marshall as the key document in the fight against racial segregation. Murray was a pioneer in women’s rights too, as a coauthor in Ginsburg’s brief for her landmark Reed v. Reed victory at the Supreme Court, which gave women more control over estates.
Murray was also queer and someone who wrestled with their gender identity throughout their life. In other words, theirs is a story of personal discovery and tireless advocacy is just as relevant and compelling today as it ever was. My Name Is Pauli Murray, which is told largely in their own words, is a candid, fascinating, and inspiring retelling of their journey.
Amazon Studios is releasing My Name Is Pauli Murray in theaters on September 17 followed by a premiere on Prime Video on October 1.
Watch the trailer below.