AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE: JOSEPHINE E. JONES
SOON AVAILABLE AT THE SCHOMBURG
Drum roll, please. An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones will soon be available in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. A Schomburg representative wrote: “I think it’s wonderful that you documented your mother’s extraordinary life.”
After reading the email, I sang Book’s in the Schomburg! to the tune of We’re in the Money! while dancing in the living room. Then I hugged my life partner.
Not only is the Schomburg the stellar research library in the New York Public Library system and the world-renowned library for research on the African Diaspora, but it is also the place where I first became captivated by African American History. This, in turn, sparked my interest in the history of people triumphing over oppression around the world.
Quite by accident, I found out that An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones has been given to Princeton University’s Firestone Library, the main campus library specializing in the humanities and social sciences. This is the second time that an unknown reader has given the book to a library.
The book can now be checked out or read in thirteen libraries, including the Library of Congress. The complete list is on the Publicity Page.
FOCUS ON LIBRARIES AND RADIO INTERVIEWS
This year, my focus is on getting the book into more public libraries, historically black universities and colleges, and high schools. My vision is for colleges and high schools to use the book in classes centering on American History, Women’s History, African American History, the Great Migration, and the Impact of Race, Class, and Gender.
In gratitude for their contributions to the historical aspects of the book, I sent copies to many of the professors who wrote the books cited in the bibliography. They were all glad to receive the book. One professor is considering inviting me for future presentations to her class.
The professor who heads the Association for the Study of African American Life and History–the association chose the Great Migration as the theme for 2019’s Black History Month–was also pleased to receive the book. This association–founded by Carter G. Woodson in 1915, then called the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, originated Negro History Week in 1926, which became Black History Month during the 1960s.
I also intend to be interviewed on the Brian Lehrer Show and All of It with Alison Stewart. These two WNYC programs appeal to people who would be interested in the book.
On the back burner are plans for an audio book and two TV programs based on the book.
PAULI MURRAY (1910-1985)
Did you know that Pauli Murray, lawyer, writer, and first African American female Episcopal priest, born in Baltimore, Maryland,
was one of the 28 founders in 1966, along with Betty Friedan, of the National Organization for Women (NOW)?
On October 13, 1965, the New York Times reported her speech to the National Council of Women calling both for a march on Washington to defeat “Jane Crow” and for the creation of a NAACP for women. This speech was one of the sparks that lit the flame for the creation of NOW.
Pauli Murray contributed foundational legal research both for women’s rights and civil rights legislation. The importance of her feminst research is highlighted in Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life by Jane Sherron De Hart. Thurgood Marshall credits her meticulous factfinding for the successful litigation of Brown v. Board of Education, which resulted in the law calling for the desegregation of public schools in 1954.
In 2016, Yale University–Murray earned a doctorate in jurisprudence from the Yale Law School–named a residential college after Pauli Murray. She was the first woman and person of color to be so honored.
Finally, on the personal side, Murray considered herself a man trapped in a woman’s body. She changed her name from Pauline to Pauli to reflect this belief.
For an overview of her accomplishment-filled life, please read this New Yorker article:
Next Historical Profile in May – African American Female Inventors.