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Parents' Guide to

My Name Is Pauli Murray

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Informative docu on little-known activist promotes courage.

Movie PG-13 2021 91 minutes
My Name Is Pauli Murray Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This is a good but somewhat dry documentary about a little-known civil rights figure who shaped national law pertaining to gender and race. Murray's legal theories acted as the major arguments for the Brown v. Board of Education case and modern women's rights. And Murray is a tremendous role model for Black and LGBTQ+ children, showing that it's possible to thrive despite the barriers society might stack against you. Indeed, Murray shows that people can break those barriers and shape a fairer society just by being themselves.

The informative interviews gathered for My Name Is Pauli Murray are supported by Murray's own words. Murray had the foresight to record their autobiography for posterity. That record, plus information gleaned from Murray's writings about their life and letters they sent to various people -- including their friend Eleanor Roosevelt -- helps build a picture of a person who dared America to live up to its ideals as they faced their own personal struggles. Their struggle with gender identity, for instance. The film presents in clear focus Murray's possible identification as trans, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming (hence the use of "they/them" pronouns for this review, keeping in line with what trans activist Raquel Willis discussed during the documentary). Given the lack of scientific knowledge about trans identity during the early to mid-20th century, Murray's accomplishments are even more inspiring. Overall, My Name Is Pauli Murray teaches audiences about a civil rights activist that we should know more about, helping to round out historical records about the person who provided the groundwork for some of the most transformative pieces of legislation in modern times.

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