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// Quotes from The Firebrand and the First Lady //


Eleanor Roosevelt with granddaughter Sara “Sally” Roosevelt (left), whom Pauli Murray and her niece Bonnie Fearing met at Val-Kill the weekend a category 4 hurricane struck New York State, October 15-17, 1954. ER’s “indomitable courage” in the face of this ferocious storm was an “example” that would inspire Murray for years to come. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library)

Patricia Bell-Scott The Firebrand and the First Lady

“For me, becoming friends with Mrs. Roosevelt was a slow, painful process, marked by sharp exchanges of correspondence, often anger on my side and exasperation on her side, and a gradual development of mutual admiration and respect.”

—PAULI MURRAY, “Challenging Mrs. R.,” <em>The Hunter Magazine</em>, September 1983

“One of my finest young friends is a charming woman lawyer–Pauli Murray, who has been quite a firebrand at times but of whom I am very fond.”

—ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, “Some of My Best Friends Are Negro,” <em>Ebony</em>, February 1953

“The measure of her greatness was her capacity for growth, her ruthless honesty with herself, and the generosity with which she responded to criticisms.”

—PAULI MURRAY, <em>Song in a Weary Throat</em>, 1987

“I have known Miss Murray for a long time and she is a very brilliant girl.”

—ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, to David Morse of the International Labour Organization in Geneva, concerning Pauli Murray’s application for a staff position, June 14, 1951

“She asked me of my future plans and seemed to approve. You would have thought I was talking to either you or Aunt Sallie, the way she talked to me.”

—PAULI MURRAY to mother (Pauline Fitzgerald Dame), regarding her first White House visit with Eleanor Roosevelt, 4 June 1943

“When more whites and Negroes become friends and lose whatever self-consciousness they started out with, we shall have a much happier world.”

—ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, “Some of My Best Friends Are Negro,” <em>Ebony</em>, February 1953