George B. Murphy, Jr.

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George B. Murphy, Jr.

George B. Murphy, Jr. of Washington D.C. was friend of with Dr. W.E.B. DuBois and his wife Shirley Graham; the singer and freedom fighter, Paul Robeson and his wife Eslanda Goode Robeson.

George B. Murphy, Jr.'s was the uncle of Laura Murphy, Legislative Representative of the American Civil Liberties Union.

George B. Murphy Jr. died at Howard University Hospital Nov. 29, 1986.[1]

Early life

George B. Murphy, Jr. was born in 1906 into one of Maryland's most influential families, son of the publisher of the Baltimore Afro American newspapers. Murphy served as Editor in Chief of the Washington Afro American in the late 1940s and early 1950s.[2]

Radical activism

Murphy was the Afro American's correspondent in Harlem during the 1930s when he met and befriended Benjamin J. Davis, helping in his successful campaign for a seat on the New York City Council, the "first Communist Councilman from Harlem.".

Murphy was then immersed in the work of the NAACP, listed in the NAACP archives as a "principal correspondent" in many of the organization's activities alongside Thurgood Marshall, later the first African American Supreme Court Justice, the great contralto, Marian Anderson and other leaders.

Murphy was frustrated that the NAACP was not coming to the aid of struggling African American workers facing hunger, even outright starvation. Instead of mass mobilization to fight Klan lynchings and frame-ups such as the Scottsboro Nine, the NAACP at that time opted for narrow, legalistic strategies. It was the International Labor Defense, chosen by the mothers of the Scottsboro Nine, that spearheaded that nationwide and worldwide campaign that saved them from execution on false charges of raping two white women near Scottsboro Alabama Mar. 25, 1931.

On Jan. 6, 1941, George B. Murphy Jr. resigned from the NAACP and joined the National Negro Congress, founded in Chicago in 1935 to fight for a bigger share of New Deal programs for the African American people. The NNC was working with the CIO and the rest of the labor movement, a coalition strategy that Murphy saw as key to winning equal rights.

In 1950, Murphy was the campaign manager in Dr. W.E.B. DuBois' run for a U.S. Senate seat from New York. In his autobiography, Dubois writes that he was an "indicted criminal" accused by Cold War witch-hunters of being an "agent of a foreign power" in his role as Executive Director of the Peace Information Center.

Despite the "red-baiting and frame-up drive", the DuBois Senate campaign organized election rallies of 1,000 to 2,000 people all across New York State culminating in a rally at Madison Square Garden attended by 17,000 people.

By then Murphy had joined the Civil Rights Congress , led by his friend William L. Patterson The CRC fought to save the lives of the Trenton Six, the Martinsville Seven, and Willie McGee, all victims of "frame-up" and Jim Crow "justice"

Murphy was a signer of the CRC's famous "We Charge Genocide" petition hand delivered to the UN in New York by Paul Robeson and in Paris by Patterson on Dec. 17, 1951. The petition accused the U.S. government of culpability in genocide against the African American people defined in the UN Charter as "any intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial, or religious group ..."

Appended to the petition was massive documentation of lynchings, beatings, outright or near starvation, denial of emergency medical care, and brutal discrimination inflicted on Black workers and sharecroppers. The Federal government had done nothing to halt this racist onslaught and many government officials gave it tacit and sometimes open encouragement.

Much of the evidence in the petition was drawn from the Washington Afro, a newspaper then edited by Murphy.[3]


Murphy was summoned by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA) in 1952, accused of being a "communist." His legal counsel was his brother, William H. Murphy Sr. later elected as a Maryland District Court judge. He was called again before HCUAC in 1956 as an active member of the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born, a group fighting the mass deportation of immigrant union workers.

Murphy was the vice chairman of the Paul Robeson Friendship Society during the 1970s, working with Josephine Butler to promote peaceful coexistence. (Daughter of sharecroppers and granddaughter of people who were enslaved, Butler (1920-1997) was one of inner-city Washington D.C.'s most respected community leaders.) Murphy had traveled to the Soviet Union. What he saw there made him a "lifelong believer in socialism."

In the book "Paul Robeson: The Great Forerunner," Murphy wrote that Robeson understood the role of a people's artist "in the struggle of workers, especially Black workers, against American capitalist exploitation, in the struggle of the people of South Africa and throughout the vast continent to reclaim for themselves ... the immense treasure of their earth." Murphy too understood and joined in that struggle with all his heart.[4]

George B. Murphy Jr's Identification as a Member of the CPUSA

George B. Murphy Jr. was a witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities on November, 12, 1956, in the hearings entitled "Communist Political Subversion", Part 1, (Wash. DC. hearings of Nov. 12-14, 1956, 84th Congress, 2nd Session, pp. 6203-6218. (His attorney was his brother William H. Murphy Sr, as noted above and whose son or grandson William Murphy would show up as an attorney in the Baltimore police trial case re Michael Gray in 2016. Other members of the Murphy family also had ties to the CPUSA and/or their fronts).

George B. Murphy Jr took the Fifth Amendment when asked about his CPUSA membership provided by a government witness Dorothy Funn, Dorothy Funn Swan, on page 6204 and 6205. Mrs. Funn testified immediately after Murphy finished (pp.6218-6220 and again identified Murphy Jr. as a member of the Communist Party (while he "was the administrative secretary, nationally, of the organization National Negro Congress (NNC) offices here at that time in Washington, D.C. [KW: Funn was the Executive Secretary of the Brooklyn Council of the NNC while Murphy was heading the national organization in Washington, D.C.]

The National Negro Congress cited at five different times by government agencies and the Attorney General as a CPUSA front. Subversive Activities Congress Board(SACB), July 26, 1957; Attorney General Tom Clark, letter to the Loyalty Review Board, Dec. 4, 1947 and Sept. 21, 1948; AG Biddle, Congressional Record (CR), Sept. 24, 1942, pp. 7687 and 7688; Special Committee on Un-American Activities (SPCUA), Annual Report, Jan. 3, 1939, p. 81, Annual Report, Jan. 3,1940, Annual Report June 25, 1942; House Report on "The CIO Political Action Committee, March 29, 1944; HCUA, Report on the American Negro in the Communist Party, Dec. 22, 1954, pp. 10, 11.

The Funn identification of Murphy Jr. as a member of the CPUSA also appeared as Committee Exhibit 1, "Sponsors of the National Assembly for Democratic Rights (NADR) (as listed in New York Times ad, Sept. 7, 1961, who have been identified as members of the Communist Party and/or who have invoked the fifth amendment when questioned about Communist Party membership", p. 208. The NADR was cited as a CPUSA front in the House Report No. 1282-Part 1, Union Calendar No. 550, "Manipulation of Public Opinion by Organizations Under Concealed Control of the Communist Party", National Assembly for Democratic Rights and Citizens Committee for Constitutional Rights (CCCL), Nov. 30, 1941.

Communist fronts

In Sept. 1975, the Paul Robeson Friendship Society hosted the World Peace Council conference with 200 delegates from across the U.S. and around the world. It included labor, communist and socialist members of parliament from Mexico, Great Britain and other nations. They held meetings with several members of the U.S. Senate and House. Murphy helped organize it.

Murphy was a leader of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and had served on the Free Angela Davis Committee.[5]


In the early 1950s, the publication Freedom was published monthly by Freedom Associates, 53 West 125th Street, New York 27, New York. Its editorial board consisted of Paul Robeson, Chairman; Revels Cayton, Shirley Graham, Alphaeus Hunton, Modjeska Simkins, Louis Burnham, and George B. Murphy, Jr. The printer's symbol number 178 which appears on the publication in order to identify the place where it was printed and the local of the printer's union, is also found on virtually every other piece of Communist Party USA propaganda printed in the New York area[6].

Expel South Africa From the UN

The Campaign for One Million Voices to Expel South Africa From the UN was a Communist Party USA front created in about 1974.[7] The front was launched to speak on South Africa and its membership in the United Nations. They issued an undated brochure entitled "We Who Support Human Rights... DEMAND the expulsion of South Africa from the UN!" The brochure was printed by the CPUSA print shop "Prompt Press", printing bug number 209.

Sponsors included George B. Murphy, Jr.

National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee

As of May 1964, George B. Murphy, Jr., writer, was listed as a sponsor of the Communist Party USA front, National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Herbert Aptheker Testimonial Dinner

On April 28, 1966 George Murphy was a sponsor of the Herbert Aptheker Testimonial Dinner. The dinner was held on the occasion of Herbert Aptheker's 50th birthday, the publication of his 20th book, and the 2nd anniversary of the American Institute for Marxist Studies. It was held in the Sutton Ballroom, The New York Hilton, Avenue of the Americas, 53rd to 54th Street, New York City. Most speakers, organizers and sponsors were known members or supporters of the Communist Party USA.[8]

American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born

In the late 1960s George Murphy was listed as a Sponsor of American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born[9].

National Anti-Imperialist Conference in Solidarity With African Liberation

George Murphy, Editor of Washington Afro-American was named as a sponsor of the Communist Party USA dominated National Anti-Imperialist Conference in Solidarity With African Liberation held at Dunbar Vocational High School, Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, October 19 to 21 1973.[10]

"A letter to Congress" on North Korea

In 1974, approximately 50 prominent, mainly Communist Party USA aligned leftists, signed a "Letter to Congress" on the situation regarding North Korea.

"For a quarter of a century the people of all Korea have needed such a peace agreement. The American People are ready for it. The People of the world deserve it. Peaceful coexistence must replace war and the threat of war. Negotiations must replace confrontation."
"Therefore, we the undersigned, concerned about the dangerous conditions in Korea earnestly appeal to you, and to all peace-minded Americans to join together in combining our reason and our political influence to secure the peaceful resolution of this problem."

The letter to Congress was in response to a March 25th, 1974 letter from the Supreme Peoples Assembly of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea to the United States Congress.

The signatories which included George Murphy Author, Journalist, formerly associated with United Nations Secretariat, urged Congress to act on North Korea's Concerns.[11]

Palestine Human Rights Campaign

A brochure came out in early 1978 announcing "A National Organizing Conference" sponsored by the Palestine Human Rights Campaign to be held on May 20-21, 1978, at American University, with the theme of "Palestinian Human Rights and Peace".

The list of "Sponsors" was a mix of a several groupings including the Communist Party USA and its sympathizers, the World Peace Council, the Hanoi Lobby, black extremists, mainly marxists, radical Christians, and Arab/Arab-American organizations, plus a few phone-booth sized pro-Palestinian Christian groups.

Individual sponsors of the event included George B. Murphy, Jr., Afro-American Newspapers.

We Will Make Peace Prevail!

On March 28, 1982 the New World Review organized a gala luncheon "We Will Make Peace Prevail! Disarmament Over Confrontation, Life Over Death", at the Grand Ballroom, Hotel Roosevelt, New York City. Virtually all participants were identified as Communist Party USA.

George B. Murphy, Jr. was listed on the Committee of Sponsors.[12]


  1. Black History Month: Peoples World, George B. Murphy, Jr., journalist for the people, Tim Wheeler February 17 2011
  2. Black History Month: Peoples World, George B. Murphy, Jr., journalist for the people, Tim Wheeler February 17 2011
  3. Black History Month: Peoples World, George B. Murphy, Jr., journalist for the people, Tim Wheeler February 17 2011
  4. Black History Month: Peoples World, George B. Murphy, Jr., journalist for the people, Tim Wheeler February 17 2011
  5. Black History Month: Peoples World, George B. Murphy, Jr., journalist for the people, Tim Wheeler February 17 2011
  7. In the brochure they made a reference to the 29th Session of the UN, which, based on its founding in 1945, would make the year 1974.
  8. Dinner Program for the Herbert Aptheker Testimonial. For a full list of the officials of this affair and the "sponsors", see "Extent of Subversion in Campus Disorders: Testimony of Ernesto E. Blanco", Part 1, hearings, Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS), Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), 91st Congress, 1st Session, June 19, 1969, pp. 70-73
  9. ACFPFB Letterhead, undated Hugh DeLacy paper Acc 3915,Box 3 Folder 20
  10. National Anti-Imperialist Conference in Solidarity With African Liberation - Partial list of sponsors
  11. Letter to Congress undated 1974 Hugh DeLacy papers Accession Number 3915 Box Number 9 Folder Number 2
  12. We Will Make Peace Prevail! event brochure