Professor Gail Murray Announced Winner of History Award
Publication Date: 1/24/2011
St. Mary’s Episcopal School has announced that Dr. Gail S. Murray, associate professor of history at Rhodes, is the 2011 recipient of the Cynthia Pitcock Women’s History Award. Established in 2002 in honor of Cynthia D. Pitcock, a retired history teacher at St. Mary’s, the award honors “extraordinary women who have made historically significant contributions to their communities through the power of their spirits.”
The award letter cites Murray’s long and distinguished career as a teacher, scholar and mentor, as well as her passionate commitment to her students and her community.
As a teacher, Murray challenges her students to think about the distinctive place of women in the history of the United States and is perhaps best known on campus for her course, “Black and White Women in the South,” which combines rigorous academic work with intense personal reflection.
As a scholar, Murray has focused on a number of topics pertaining to women’s experiences including her edited volume, Throwing Off the Cloak of Privilege: White Southern Women Activists in the Civil Rights Era and a profile of Memphis activist Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg ’62 in Tennessee Women: Challenging Boundaries, Claiming Identities. She also is working on projects on the history of the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), the Young Woman’s Christian Association (YWCA) and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) workers in Memphis.
One of the first women to earn tenure as a faculty member in the Department of History at Rhodes, Murray later became the first woman to serve as department chair, a position which she held 2005 to 2009. An engaged member of the Memphis community, she also serves on the board of Humanities Tennessee, is an active member of First Congregational Church, and works with a local workers’ rights advocacy organization.