Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening, and Sunday Afternoon
Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to stand, Pauli Murray refused to sit in the back of the bus; 20 years before the Greensboro sit-ins, she organized restaurant sit-downs in the nation's capital. Murray was denied admission to the University of North Carolina because of her race and to Harvard because of her gender.
One hundred twenty-three years after her enslaved grandmother was baptized at The Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, Pauli Murray returned as America's first female African-American priest to celebrate her groundbreaking Communion there. A champion of human rights, Pauli Murray's struggles and insights resonate powerfully in our times. As Eleanor Holmes Norton said, Pauli Murray not only lived on the edge of history, she seemingly "pulled it along with her."
To Buy the Sun opens on the evening of February 12, 1977, the night before Pauli Murray's historic appearance at The Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. CBS' Charles Kuralt and crew have been following Murray all day as part of their On the Road broadcast. Now, for the first time in decades, Pauli returns to the old family home place to reflect on the life and times of America and her place in its history, while she crafts the words she will speak tomorrow to the two million viewers. As Pauli Murray revisits old haunts and old friends, from Harlem to Harvard and Eleanor Roosevelt to Betty Friedan, the purpose of her life takes on a new and unexpected shape.
Using archival images, three chairs, and a typewriter, the performers bring to life 60 characters, 6 decades, and 2 continents in this acting tour de force. By the close of To Buy the Sun, you will want to stand and cheer for this mixed-race, gender non-conforming attorney, poet, activist, professor, and priest and the challenge she offers us all.
The play is sponsored by the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, the Pauli Murray Project at Duke Human Rights Center/FHI, Hidden Voices, Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture at Duke University, and the Southwest Central Durham Quality of Life Project.