The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Albertha Johnston Murray papers
Repository: Avery Research Center
Collection Description (Extant): Albertha Johnston Murray was born October 26, 1889 in Charleston, SC to William Henry and Mary Ellen Virgin Johnston. She was educated at Claflin High School and attended Claflin University as a Normal school student, gradating in 1909. In 1949, Murray received her B.S. in Education from the State Agricultural and Mechanical College, Orangeburg, SC. She married Richard Gailliard Murray and had one daughter, Hazel Albertha Murray Stewart.
Murray taught at numerous private and public schools in Charleston County, beginning with Humbert Wood Public Elementary School on Johns Island. She was also a teacher at Dart Private School, Avery Normal Institute and Four Mile Public Elementary School. In 1927, Murray was hired as principal at Cut Bridge Elementary School on James Island, remaining there for thirty two years. Murray’s insistence prompted the renovation and expansion of the original five room school. In 1955, a new school was built named Murray-LaSaine Elementary School, which bore her name and Dr. Mary Alice LaSaine, former supervisor of Negro Schools in Charleston County.
Murray retired from the teaching profession in 1959, and remained active in numerous educational, social, and humanitarian organizations. She served as president and life member of the South Carolina Retired Teacher’s Association; treasurer of the Charleston County Principal’s Association, and was a former president of the Palmetto Education Association, South Carolina Education Association, and a life member of the American Teacher’s Association. Murray’s civic involvement includes Board of Directorship on the Charleston Chapter of the American Red Cross, Charleston County Tuberculosis Associations and McClennan Banks Memorial Hospital, and membership with the South Carolina Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs; National Council of Negro Women; League of Women’s Voters; the Poinsetta Chapter #129 of the Order of Eastern Star, the Coming Street YWCA (Charleston SC); Founder of the Grey Ladies; and the Robert Gould Shaw Boys Club of America. Murray passed away on September 13, 1969, at the age of seventy nine.
Papers consist of letters, speeches, programs, newspaper clippings, certificates and photographs reflecting Murray's work as a student, teacher, and principal at Murray-LaSaine Elementary School on James Island, Charleston, SC, along with her affiliations with professional and civic organizations. Includes materials on Dart Grammar and Primary School, Avery Normal Institute and others. Murray's writings relate to the education of teachers and parents of young children, virtues and religious themes. The series of schools and colleges include letters and programs from the institutions Murray attended, and where she taught or spoke. The educational, church, women and volunteer affiliations series contains letters, speeches, programs, and certificated from the various national, state and local teacher and civic organizations to which Murray belonged including the SC Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, Central Baptist Church, and others such as the McClennan-Banks Memorial Hospital. Murray's papers also include a series with her relatives, parents, William Henry and Mary Ellen Virgin Johnston; sister, Arnolta J. Williams; daughter Hazel Albertha Murray Stewart; son-in-law, James W. Stewart II; and nephew, William E. Johnston, Jr. Photographs depict Murray with her family; students, and faulty at Claflin College (now University), Cut Bridge School, Bettis Academy and Murray-LaSaine Elementary School, along with group pictures of Murray in numerous teacher and civic organizations. Includes photographs of Susan Dart Butler and Mary Alice LaSaine.
Date(s): ca. 1909-1970
Digital Status: No
Existing IDs: 1020
Extent: Approx .75 linear ft.
Finding Aid URL: http://avery.cofc.edu/murray.htm
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
African American educators--South Carolina
African American schools
African American women
African Americans--South Carolina
National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (U.S.)