Dear Michelle, Sharon, and Mindy:
Growing up in the Jim Crow South, African American activist Pauli Murray longed for fairness. But all she saw were signs telling her where she couldn’t go and what she couldn’t do. Determined to speak up against segregation, Pauli used her typewriter to challenge the most powerful people of her time to think differently. In the end, her legal arguments influenced Thurgood Marshall and helped end school segregation.
PAULI’S KEYS: HOW ONE WOMAN AND HER TYPEWRITER CHANGED THE WORLD is a 1,222-word picture book biography. Similar in theme to I Dissent by Debbie Levy and Between the Lines by Sandra Neil Wallace, this is the only picture book to date about lawyer, activist, poet and priest Pauli Murray. The text has been reviewed for historical accuracy by Murray’s biographer, Rosalind Rosenberg, and revised based on a critique from agent Alexandra Penfold. Backmatter (author’s note, bibliography, quotation sources) is included.
I am an active member of SCBWI and have participated in several conferences and a mentorship program. I am also a member of Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge. I have had three stories accepted and/or published in Highlights magazine, and one of my picture book manuscripts won 3rd place in the 2017 SCBWI Carolinas Art and Writing Contest. I have revised PAULI’S KEYS many times based on feedback from my critique group and cultural sensitivity readings from a critique partner.
I have several other manuscripts available upon request. Thank you for considering my work.
Long ago, in North Carolina, a little girl named Pauli Murray sat at the table with a head full of words and a heart full of sorrow. She knew she was expected to sit quietly. She knew she wasn’t supposed to question her elders. But when things weren’t fair, Pauli always spoke up.