Human Rights in the United States

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Updated: Apr 03, 2021
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Human Rights in the United States essay

“The XX century was marked by some serious social changes which influenced the world’s vision of different races and gender’s equality. Discussing this topic, the United States of America survived difficult social transformations related to the attitude towards African-American people, which greatly affected the social awareness. That is the main reason to pay tribute to the key figures of the époque, whose work influenced on the process of the development of national consciousness. Among them the portrait of Puli Murray takes its proper place as the one of the person who devoted her life to the fight for justice.

Anna Pauline Murray’s outstanding life was devoted to defending human rights and gaining the compromise between the downtrodden and the dominant people communities in American and world society. During the second half of the XX century, she was the key figure interested in the issues of social attitude towards women’s rights and race segregations. At this point, she chose the way of the jurisprudence as the best possibility to defend people’s rights with the help of the legitimacy and the law. She was the one to formulate the thesis of the American laws’ failure to recognize the phenomenon of the discrimination and the social risks provided by it. Being the victim of the gender identity problem, Murray had the possibility to realize the problems the minorities encounter and, most importantly, she had moral strength to start fighting these difficulties. At the time when any controversial actions were criminally and socially haunted, she decided to act instead of speaking.
Murray’s life, starting with her childhood, has never been easy. Having lost her parents at early age, she was raised and educated by her grandparents. Her first segregation related conflict took place in 1940, when she and her friend sat in the white-only section in a bus. That was enough as the grounds for arrest because of ignoring and violating the segregation laws relevant at the state of Virginia. Two years earlier she tried to apply to the University, but a young African-American was denied the possibility to get education there. The fact Murray had to encounter the typical problems of an African girl in American society of the time obviously helped her to realize the significance of the abuses the people of her race were doomed to.

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The greatest motivation for her further action was the personal one, based on her own experience which pushed her to the real working. At the time when all defending activities were condemned by the society and the governmental state, taking responsibility for such actions was an extremely serious and dangerous step. That is why the resistance movement first appeared in the African social environment, among the people who were the first to get motivated to get rid of the segregation and discrimination policy. The XX century offered to the descendants of the former African inhabitants the possibility to develop their potential, even with the social limitations and restriction of their rights. They got the chance to correspond to the requirement of the époque, to be in line with the white people who groundlessly and unjustifiably consider themselves to be the dominants. But even this chance had to be protected by those who realized its significance and were ready to share it with their people and their future generations. And Pauli Murray, who was the real victim of the injustice, was among the strongest facing the whole country and the government itself in their struggle with this unfairness.

Her knowledge and commitment allowed her to criticize the law competently – the capability she demonstrated with her writing a book concerning the problems of race and skin color (published in 1950). Murray’s vision of the current political and social problems was strongly denounced by the public and the scientists of the time. Anyway, this work should be considered as a good attempt of involving the psychological, social and political factors which formed the socially dangerous situation the United States of America. Her innovative perspective was based on the demand to the lawyers to deny the possibility of the requirement to demonstrate the inequality of so-called “”separate but equal”” elements, which was habitual for the courts at that time. However, she supported the idea of the unconstitutional nature of the segregation laws, what provoked the wave of criticism. At this point, it is also necessary to pay tribute to her readiness and energy to take care of not only African people, but also the women being denied to their basic rights. Having being appointed as responsible for the status of a woman, she was ready to prove her willingness with preparing “”The Proposal to Reexamine the Applicability of the Fourteenth Amendment to State Laws and Practices Which Discriminate on the Basis of Sex Per Se””.

She immediately used the chance to change the situation with realizing some real program she had on her mind. She was not even afraid of criticizing the prominent politicians and governmental organizations for their sexism, repeatedly attracting public attention to the facts of oppression of the women. For example, she demonstrated her courage in her strong condemnation of women’s absence in the list of people reading major speeches in March of Washington in 1963. “” It is indefensible to call a national march on Washington and send out a call which contains the name of not a single woman leader”” (Cole 89). The amount of similar cases, in which she proved and supported her position with brave demarches against race and gender inequality, never stopped increasing during her life. As is known, there are no ifs in the history, but it would be logical to assume that the fact that Pauli Murray had to suffer from the injustice and pejorative attitude towards her race and gender made her feel incapable of standing by the discrimination problem.

The tactics she chose are distinguished by their lawful character and bravery she presented in her public speeches. In the first case, her published works seem to be illustrative because of her clear desire to achieve her goals with the help of the juridical reasoning of the solutions she suggested. She began her human rights career soon after the rejection of her applying to the University to the North Carolina, having started with the letter to the governmental officials of the state and publishing the answers in the media, trying to challenge the public. In this way, Pauli proved that she understood the main ideas of the modern civilization and was determined to act in a lawful way which, anyway, would have let her to attract the public attention. Later, her resistance evolved in more brave and aggressive ways. First of all, Murray was arrested by the police for the violating the segregation laws, which definitely changes the course of her behavior and have further persuaded her of the importance of her actions. It may be supposed that Pauli realized that she would have to face with the whole governmental system resisting her, and her own energy and moral strength would the only source of inspiration for her efforts. She must have realized that her actions aimed at restoring justice would probably provoke an aggressive reaction from the government. It is possible that this idea pushed her to the participation in the so-called sets-in and other actions, which became the most rigorous of all the measures she took.

Professional achievements became another way to reach her goals and to challenge the American society and the white politicians in particular. Having been denied a chance to enter the Harvard University, she in retaliation obtained a degree of a master in law at University. In this way, she defended her right to protect her people and to be protected in the world of discrimination.

She was never afraid of confronting the opinion which she considered to be wrong, as it was during her cooperation with NAACP. As Schultz mentioned, “”After stepping away from now to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Murray returned and discovered that her organization had become the one for white women… Murray was left both angry and saddened”” (“”The many lives of Pauli Murray””). These events became the main reason of her new provocative step, which continued the rank of her professional challenges to the world. “”Whatever it was, it came as a shock to everyone when, having achieved the most stable and lucrative job of her life… Murray resigned her post and entered New York’s General Theological Seminary to become an Episcopal priest””. For this new goal she left her permanent work at the Brandeis University, where she had been working for five years, and left the teaching career. The idea of entering the seminary was inspired by her communication with the other women who attended the Episcopal Church. It is possible to assume that she perceived it as a new personal challenge, as far as Murray even was the first to celebrate the Eucharist in the Episcopal Church in North Carolina by the invitation at Chapel at the Cross. The other plausible version is the successful end of her looking for the reconciliation. Throughout all her life she was constantly fighting against the national injustice, race and gender discrimination. Speaking about the last point, she even had to struggle with herself, suffering from the gender identity problems. Having experienced a short marriage in her young age, she soon realized her unwillingness to build up the heterosexual relationship, she wrote in her diary: “”Why is it when men try to make love to me, something in me fights?”” (Rosenberg 38). She never forced herself to have heterosexual relationships, being happy with women companions for the rest of her life. According to this information, it is necessary to recognize her as a victim of numerous discrimination aspects which influenced her political and social position as a civil rights activist.

As one of the central figures of the human rights defending movement, Anna Pauline “”Pauli”” Murray made her significant contribution to the building of democracy the American society presents nowadays. Thanks to the numerous efforts of the personalities like her, African-American people and women don’t have to struggle for their rights in today’s world. Throughout her life, she was never scared to give up fighting, even realizing the fact she was facing the whole country, the government and the nation. That is why her achievements were recognized and her efforts were rewarded with the right to be heard and listened to. The methods she chose were not concentrated on any aggressive, malevolent or violent counteraction, although she had to encounter some abusive and unfair attitude towards her and her position. Anyway, Murray continued to challenge the environmental world and the society of the time by using the methods and goals that helped her to become a better version of herself and to support her ideas with some real actions. During her long political and human rights activist’s career she proved her capability to stand by what she considered to be right and just, to protect her moral standards which she was willing to pass to the following generations. And, witnessing the results of her activity, it is possible to say that she succeeded in achieving her noble goals.”

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Human Rights in the United States. (2021, Apr 03). Retrieved from