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Laura Murphy

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Information about Laura Murphy

Profile image of Laura Murphy

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Chocolate, Red Peppers
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Eleutheria, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Free your mind and your ass will follow.

Birthplace

Born:
10/3/1955
Birth Location:
Baltimore, Maryland

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Chocolate, Red Peppers
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Eleutheria, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Free your mind and your ass will follow.

Birthplace

Born:
10/3/1955
Birth Location:
Baltimore
See how Laura Murphy is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Nonprofit chief executive Laura W. Murphy was born on October 3, 1955, in Baltimore, Maryland. As the daughter of Judge William H. and Madeline Murphy, she grew up an active member of Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood. Murphy attended Wellesley College, obtaining her B.A. degree in 1976.

Upon graduation, Murphy joined the staff of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, thus beginning her career in politics. From 1979 to 1982, she worked as a registered lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union. In this position, Murphy lobbied members of Congress, delivered testimony before congressional committees and conducted press briefings on pending legislation.

Murphy moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and became director of development and planned giving for the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. The Foundation exceeded previous fundraising goals during her tenure. Murphy left the ACLU in 1985 to work as an account executive at a public affairs consulting firm and then as chief of staff for California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. Murphy returned to the East Coast in 1991 and joined the staff of Washington, D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly as special assistant for tourism. Murphy suggested the creation of the Office of Tourism and Promotions in the District of Columbia and became director of the office. Under Murphy’s leadership, the office was successful in increasing advertising revenue for tourism and winning two major international sporting events for the District, World Cup soccer and the Tour DuPont international bicycle race.

In 1993, Murphy returned to the ACLU as director of its Washington Office. Murphy became the first woman and first African American to be the ACLU’s chief liaison to the White House and Congress. Under Murphy’s leadership, the ACLU Washington office was instrumental in the passage of such legislation as the Family Medical Leave Act, the Motor Voter Bill, the Freedom of Access to Clinics Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Murphy and the Washington ACLU office were praised by Democratic and Republican members of Congress for their success in organizing coalitions of groups representing opposing parties and ideologies. Murphy stepped down as director in 2005 to establish Laura Murphy & Associates, a private consulting firm. She was later renamed director of the ACLU’s Washington Office in 2010, and again stepped down in January of 2015.

Murphy has received numerous awards and recognition, including the 1994 Distinguished Public Service Award from the District of Columbia and the Congressional Black Caucus 1997 William L. Dawson Award. In 1998, Murphy was named one of the fifty most influential Washingtonians in Congressional politics by Roll Call. Murphy is on the board of directors of the Afro-American Newspapers and is a member of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and is chairperson of its Criminal Justice Task Force.

Laura Murphy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 18, 2001.

See how Laura Murphy is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Laura Murphy interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Laura Murphy's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Laura Murphy details her mother's genealogy
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Laura Murphy describes how her mother's family migrated from Massachusetts to Delaware
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Laura Murphy discusses her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Laura Murphy explains how experiences with racism influenced her parents' activism
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Laura Murphy details how her father's activism was fueled
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Laura Murphy discusses 'passing' in her family's history
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Laura Murphy discusses the politics of color
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Laura Murphy describes her experiences with race and skin color during the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Laura Murphy discusses her four siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Laura Murphy describes early memories with her family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Laura Murphy remembers her childhood travels
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Laura Murphy describes her childhood personality
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Laura Murphy describes the trials and travails of secondary school, part 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Laura Murphy describes the trials and travails of school life- part II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Laura Murphy recalls the racial divide in academics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Laura Murphy discusses her decision to attend Wellesley College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Laura Murphy describes her experience as a Wellesley College student
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Laura Murphy recalls her first job as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Laura Murphy remembers her mentors, Congressmen Parren Mitchell and Shirley Chisholm
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Laura Murphy remembers Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Laura Murphy explains the beginnings of her career with the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Laura Murphy describes her work in the ACLU on extending the Voting Rights Act
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Laura Murphy continues with the successful lobbying for extending the Voting Rights Act
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Laura Murphy explains her early career moves
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Laura Murphy discusses the breakup of her marriages
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Laura Murphy explains her career changes during her second marriage
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Laura Murphy describes her fundraising work in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Laura Murphy discusses her accomplishments as Executive Director of the ACLU in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Laura Murphy describes the role of the ACLU and how the organization protects civil liberties
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Laura Murphy considers her plans for the future
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Laura Murphy shares her views on public service
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Laura Murphy advocates government employment
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Laura Murphy considers her legacy