CUNY alum to be featured on US coin


CUNY Newswire

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

CUNY alum and activist, Pauli Murray, will be a 2024 honoree for the American Women’s Quarters Program, the U.S. mint announced.

Murray will be joined by five other women to be featured on a limited-edition United States quarter as part of the 2024 edition of the American Women Quarters Program.

Murray graduated with honors from Hunter College in 1933.

While enrolled, her writing credits extended to various magazines and articles. Her most notable work includes “The Right to Equal Opportunity in Employment,” written in the California Law Review.

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez released a statement praising Murray for her accomplishments and acknowledged the contributions CUNY women have made in the college’s history.

“On International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women and fighting against gender discrimination, we are delighted that Pauli Murray will be recognized in such an indelible way for being an unrelenting advocate and showing the foresight to anticipate some of the most significant issues of our time,” Chancellor Rodríguez said. “I would also like to take this moment to celebrate the many women of CUNY who, throughout our 175-year history, have fought for social justice, made groundbreaking scientific advancements, wrote influential works across many fields and served the public as elected leaders.”

U.S. Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson said that the women being honored have made tremendous strides during their lives.

“All of the women being honored have lived remarkable and multi-faceted lives and have made a significant impact on our nation in their own unique way,” Gibson said. “The women pioneered change during their lifetimes, not yielding to the status quo imparted during their lives. By honoring these pioneering women, the Mint continues to connect America through coins, which are like small works of art in your pocket.”

Murray’s professional history is diverse — she was a poet, writer, activist and lawyer.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Murray had six siblings. She was later raised in Durham, North Carolina.

According to CUNY, Murray’s writing inspired Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsberg as they prepared their landmark arguments against segregation and sex-based discrimination in the workplace.

Later in her college years, Murray attended and graduated from Howard University’s law school as the only woman in her graduating class. She also attended the then University of California’s Boalt School of Law where she earned a Master of Laws degree. She obtained her J.S.D from Yale University, becoming the first Black student to receive the degree.

Murray was no stranger to law enforcement. Her inspiration behind attending law school stemmed from a 1940 arrest for disorderly conduct.

Murray co-founded the National Organization for Women and later served as the vice president of Benedict College. She made history as the first person to teach African American Studies and Women’s Studies at Brandeis University.

The United States Congress created the U.S. mint in 1972, which became a part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 1873.

Murray’s legacy lives on in the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, located in her hometown, Durham, North Carolina.

Murray’s quarter design will be released in mid-2023.