Roy D. Murray
Civil Rights
Audio Samples

A midwife delivered Roy at his parents' home at 819 Taylor Court in Shreveport. He was the middle child of two older brothers and two younger sisters, all children of Bates Murray and Lucille Daniels MurrayRaised during the Depression and the 1940s, his own family worked hard to eat. "We made our living by working out, day work. We would catch cotton trucks and we'd go out and chop cotton," he remarks. That money had to last until cotton picking when the family could earn more money. He says they earned about four dollars a day chopping cotton, working from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an hour off for lunch. Their meals were often milk and bread, with chicken on Sunday. He went to school at a church, Liberty Hill CME Church in Red River Parish. His parents separated in 1938, with his mother taking the children to live near her dad in Red River Parish. His mother sent him to Shreveport to friends and there he attended "Old CC High School" a nickname for Central Colored High School. He graduated from high school in May of 1950. On July 5, he was sworn into the army, because, he says, "there was nothing else to do." He took basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas and although the army had only been recently segregated, "we didn't have many problems," he recalls. While he had all white officers, several sergeants were black. After basic he was sent to mobile equipment school at Fort Belvoir, Virginia where he learned to drive bulldozers. He was then sent to the Aleutian Islands to disassemble equipment left over from World War II. He spent "about twenty-one months in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. He was discharged in July 1953 at Fort Lewis near Seattle, Washington. On September 28, 1953, he married Sarah Reliford. They would have four children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He completed his BS degree at Grambling University in 1957. A year later, a principal in Red River Parish called with an offer to teach. He was sent to a small, all-black school in Grand Bayou where he stayed for 12 years, teaching English to the ninth grade, then high school until 1970. Roy earned his master's degree from LSU in Baton Rouge, graduating with honors. Working in the integrated Coushatta High School he taught civics, American history, sociology, government and geography, as well as tenth grade English. He retired in 1985, although returned on occasions when there was a teacher shortage, last teaching in 2003.