February 19, 2011 - February 25, 2011, The Afro-American
By Shernay Williams
AFRO Staf Writer
Louise Gee Murphy, aBaltimore City educator andformer state senator, died of natural causes the morning of Feb. 15, her daughter SharonDow conrmed with the
. She was 88.Murphy, a passionateadvocate for education, servednearly half a century as anelementary school teacher,principal, supervisor andspecialist for Baltimore CityPublic Schools. Later in life,she delved into politics.A powerhouse in herown right, heading variouscommittees including theMaryland State CentralCommittee and Morgan ParkCommunity Association, theoutspoken woman marriedinto the iconic Murphyfamily of the Afro-AmericanNewspapers in 1971.A product of city schools,Murphy attended what wasthen Coppin State TeachersCollege to have an impacton the school system. Shegraduated in 1944, duringthe heart of segregation, andtwo years later, she earned amaster’s in education fromNew York University onscholarship. “[At that time]the state preferred to payfor Blacks to go to graduateschool somewhere else besidesthe University of Marylandwith them,” Dow said.Murphy soon returnedto Baltimore and completedan advancedcerticatein educationfrom TheJohns HopkinsUniversity.She spent43 years swiftly moving upthe ranks of city schoolsuntil her retirement in1988. Between the years of 1982-83, she served in theMaryland General Assemblyas a democratic state senatorfor District 44, replacingincumbent John CarrollByrnes, according to theMaryland Society of SenatorsPast.“She [Louise Murphy]was a forceful, concerned,committed person, who had adeep sense of the value of thecommunity. She had a senseof the importance of politicalorganizing and she was axture in the Black society of West Baltimore for as long asI can remember,”
CEOand Publisher John Oliver Jr.said.Among her many honors,Murphy served as presidentof the Baltimore City RetiredTeachers Association, on theboards of directors for theMorgan Christian Center andArena Playhouse, and wasa 60-year active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.Dow said her motherloved to travel. She recalled atime in the 1960s when theytraveled cross-country by train.“But what was probably themost important to her waseducation,” Dow said. “Shermly believed that childrenhad to get a good foundation inthe elementary years.”Murphy is survived by onedaughter, two grandchildrenand one great grandchild.Funeral arrangementswere not nalized by
deadline. Contact MarchFuneral Homes West fordetails at (410) 542-2400.
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim
Special to the AFRO
Although President BarackObama signed a measure twomonths ago meant to fund thesettlement of a longstandingcase known as the Blackfarmers lawsuit, no payout isin sight despite scam artistswho suggest otherwise.That was the heart of themessage that National BlackFarmers Association presidentDr. John Boyd sought todeliver earlier this week at theNational Press Club. “We’vehad a very long struggle.We’re still struggling,”he said in reference to thelawsuit, which began in1997 and alleged the U.S.Department of Agriculturediscriminated against Blackfarmers on the basis of raceand failed to investigate orrespond to complaints from1983 to 1997.“We still don’t have themoney,” said in referenceto the second settlement of the case, meant in large partto give claimants who stillhadn’t had their cases heardunder the original case achance to do so. “Farmers stillhaven’t even begun to havetheir cases heard.”Dr. Boyd said he wantedto warn Black farmers thatthey do not have to pay anyapplication fees to get theircases heard, which he saidsome con artists in certainremote areas of the deepSouth have been getting ortrying to get Black farmersto do.“I’m here to put people onalert that they do not have topay a $1,000 fee,” Dr. Boydsaid, although his detailsabout the alleged scams werescarce.The conferencemomentarily grew heatedwhen a
blogger critical of Boyd’sadvocacy suggested that mostof the individuals who hopeto cash in on the $1.15 billionsettlement are non-farmersseeking to defraud the federalgovernment, not actualfarmers.“Not one damn dime hasbeen paid out,” Boyd toldthe blogger, Lee Stranahan,in response. “And all of the sudden you’ve labeled80 percent of these peoplefraudulent? Let them gothrough process.”At one point during theQ&A, National Press Clubmember and event hostKarrye Braxton threatenedto call security on Stranahan – who carried a handheldcamera he aimed at Dr. Boyd – kept making statementsabout the case instead of asking Dr. Boyd an actualquestion.Despite Stranahan’squestions about non-farmersseeking to le claims, thesettlement, formally knownas
, actually allowsnot only for claims to beled by Black farmers whofarmed and were denied loansthrough USDA agencies from1981 through 1996, but alsothose who attempted to farmand were denied loans duringthe same period.Congress enactedlegislation that led to
in 2008 due to concernsabout the large number of late-ling applicants who didnot obtain a determinationof the merits of their claimsunder the original
settlement approved by afederal district court judgein 1999, according to
USDASettlement of DiscriminationSuits by Black Farmers
,a report prepared by thenon-partisan CongressionalResearch Service.The CRS report citesconcerns about “ineffectiveor defective” notice regardingthe case.Under the terms of the
settlementagreement, claimants whosubmitted late-ling requestsunder the original
case between Oct. 12, 1999,and June 19, 2008, but havenot had their case heard, canseek relief of up to $50,000plus debt relief, or choose thelonger process for damages of up to $250,000, according tothe CRS report.The actual number of eligible claimants – said tobe in the tens of thousands –remains to be seen, Dr. Boydsaid, adding that anti-fraudprovisions would serve toprevent non-eligible claimantsfrom ling claims. In order toreceive a settlement payment,for instance, claimants exposethemselves to perjury forling a bogus claim. “At theend of the day, those whoprevail will prevail,” Dr.Boyd said. “And those whoget denied will be denied.”Though funding for thesettlement has been signed byPresident Obama, the measuremust be approved by U.S.District Judge Paul Friedmanbefore it can become part of the settlement.“I’m hopeful that JudgeFriedman will make thatdecision soon,” Dr. Boyd said.
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Photo by Rob Roberts
Dr. John Boyd, shown inthis September 2010
fle photo, alerted Black armers to an allegedscam, asking them to payapplication ees. He saidthe armers did not have topay any money to apply orthe settlement.
Boyd Gives Update on Black Farmers Settlement
“She had a sense o the importance o political organizing and she was a fxture in the Black society o West Baltimore or as long as I can remember.”
Veteran City Educator, Former Sen. Louise G. Murphy Dies
AFRO Archives Photo
Former Maryland state Sen. Louise Gee Murphy seen hereat her swearing in. Murphy died Feb. 15 at the age o 88.