PMP houseUpdate from PMP Director, Barbara Lau

We are excited to report that water damage to the foundation and chimneys of the Pauli Murray-Robert Fitzgerald House is being addressed by the City of Durham. A pre-WWII drainage system in Maplewood Cemetery is being replaced to stem the flow of runoff water down the hill behind the house that has flooded the foundation and yard. Work began today; massive replacement pipes were moved onto the site and the existing gutters and retaining wall were being removed. It is estimated that the work will continue for the next 2-3 weeks and when completed will address issues Robert Fitzgerald’s daughter Pauline Dame has been corresponding with the City of Durham about since 1934.

Once this work is completed we can begin to restore the chimneys and address the damage to the foundation. Please consider helping us with this project. To make a donation: CLICK HERE or send us a gift by mail at Pauli Murray Center, P.O. Box 541, Durham, NC  27702.

We’ve been researching Richard Fitzgerald (Pauli’s great uncle the brickmaker) and learning that he developed much of the West End.  With workers from the neighborhood, his company provided the bricks for Erwin Mill and the former Emmanuel AME Church which is the oldest surviving religious edifice in the City of Durham. If Pauli’s grandfather Robert Fitzgerald had not come south after serving in the Civil War, his family would not have followed. If Robert had not been so industrious and determined, convincing his brother that a brick making business could be a great success in Durham, Richard would not have become the highly successful businessman who was also the first president of Mechanic’s & Farmer’s Bank and the treasurer for Lincoln Hospital. Durham would have been a different and we proposed a diminished place without the Fitzgerald family who also nurtured the determination in Pauli Murray.

This house will become a place to tell this important story to visitors, school children and the world. Please help us bring it back to life!

Stay tuned for more updates as the project continues.