Black L.A. 1947: ‘Why Negro Girls Stay Single’ by Pauli Murray

Update, March 28, 2023: Pauli Murray’s essay in Negro Digest is online at

June 19, 1947: The Sentinel publishes a few paragraphs on Pauli Murray’s essay, which appeared in the July 1947 issue of “Negro Digest.” Murray’s essay is frequently cited, but it doesn’t appear online.

According to the Sentinel, Murray said that “economic insecurity and emotional immaturity of the Negro male” are two reasons “Why Negro Girls Stay Single.”

“The average Negro male leaves high school for a trade, and this marks him as the social and economic inferior of the college-trained Negro girl,” the Sentinel said, in citing Murray’s essay.

Murray also said that black women “far outnumber the men, with the result that colored girls must compete with each other for the few eligible males.”

June 19, 1947, L.A. Sentinel

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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2 Responses to Black L.A. 1947: ‘Why Negro Girls Stay Single’ by Pauli Murray

  1. I read a long article saying this exact same thing just a year or so ago, and they acted as if it was a new development; I don’t remember the reporter referencing this essay. (Upon further research, it must have been an excerpt from or an article discussing Ralph Richard Banks’ book, “Is Marriage for White People?” Banks is an African-American professor, so there’s a good chance he does refer to Murray’s essay in there, but I don’t remember the article mentioning it, and the reviews I just came across in “The Economist” and “The NY Times” don’t say anything about it.)


    • lmharnisch says:

      I spent quite a while trying to find the original article, but the most I could find was many citations to it and a “snippet preview” of “Negro Digest” on Google Books. Given my time limitations, I also didn’t get into the life of Pauli Murray. Every blog post that I do could be expanded into a series.

      Banks is the brother of former L.A. Times columnist Sandy Banks, btw.


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