Clyde E. Murphy ’75 was a renowned civil rights attorney who dedicated his legal advocacy work to cases involving affirmative action, police misconduct, employment discrimination, and housing bias. He passed away on August 17, 2010, at the age
Born in Kansas and raised in Miami, Murphy received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University before graduating from Columbia Law School in 1975. That year, he joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he litigated many important discrimination cases.
In 1995, Murphy joined the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the public interest law consortium of Chicago’s leading law firms. On behalf of the committee, Murphy filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago alleging that the cutoff score of the firefighters’ entrance exam favored Caucasians. Murphy worked on the case, known as Lewis v. City of Chicago, from 1998 until May of last year, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the African-American applicants. “It was a very significant case,” said Professor Theodore M. Shaw ’79 in an obituary that ran in the Chicago Tribune. “But even before that case, Clyde was already nationally known for his civil rights work. He was a good lawyer and a good man in so many ways.”
Murphy is survived by his wife, Monica; his son, Jamal; and two daughters, Akua and Naima.