Summary Of Pauli Murray's 'Proud Shoes'

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Pauli Murray’s Proud Shoes tells the story of Murray’s family as they developed through segregation. After the death of her parents, Murray is taken to live with her grandparents, Robert and Cornelia Fitzgerald. Proud Shoes focuses on the life of Robert and Cornelia and how they experienced life differently due to their individual situations. This book discusses how race and gender played key roles in the life of Robert and Cornelia. Through this discussion, readers are able to understand a broader American life based on individual experiences and express topics on gender identity and gender difference. The lives of Murray’s grandparents differed greatly. Cornelia Smith was born into slavery by a white man. She had many features from her father and in many ways looked white. This fact made it impossible for her family to deny her as kin. It was said “If Dr. Smith had sold Harriet and her children the talk…show more content…
His family took pride in their accomplishments and their efforts to stop slavery. Robert fought and was wounded in the civil war and battled the K.K.K. for the right to vote. Murray put pride in this and her family’s accomplishments to combat slavery. His fighting shows a lot of the political turmoil that was happening at the time and the views that African Americans have towards their progress. Much like Cornelia, Robert’s parents were a mix of African American and White. The differences is that Robert’s mother was white. Murray explains that “racial identification was ultimately a matter of appearance (66).” This showed that despite their white blood, Thomas and Robert were still treated as many other African Americans were treated. Sarah Ann often told her children to be careful of how they identified themselves because of the social implications of identity. Murray talks about Robert’s experiences of school and shows the broader social foundation that many African Americans had towards
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