George Washington Murray, U.S. Congressman   Leave a comment

George Washington Murray (September 22, 1853 – April 21, 1926) was born a slave and served as a Congressman from South Carolina.

He was born a slave near Rembert, Sumter County, South Carolina on September 22, 1853. Murray attended the public schools and the University of South Carolina at Columbia for two years. He taught school for fifteen years in Sumter County.

He played an important role in the Republican Party. He was chairman of the Sumter County Republican Party. He was known as the “Republican Black Eagle.” Murray was a delegate at several Republican National Conventions. He lectured for the Colored Farmers Alliance.

Murray was an inspector of customs at the port of Charleston, South Carolina from 1890 to 1892. He was elected as a Republican representing South Carolina’s 7th congressional district in the Fifty-third Congress (March 4, 1893 – March 3, 1895). Due to redistricting, he ran in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district in 1894. Although he lost the popular vote to William Elliott, he successfully contested the election and served in the Fifty-fourth Congress from June 4, 1896 to March 3, 1897.

Murray engaged in the real estate business in Sumter County. In 1903, he was charged with forging names on lease agreements. He was convicted in 1905.

Instead of serving his sentence, he moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1905 where he sold life insurance and real estate. He was active in the Illinois Republican Party and an ally of Chicago Mayor “Big Bill” Thompson.

He was pardoned by South Carolina Governor Coleman Blease in 1915. He died in Chicago, Illinois, April 21, 1926. He is buried in Lincoln Cemetery.[1]

Current Democratic South Carolina congressman and Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn is one of his relatives.

Murray would be the last Black Republican to serve in Congress from South Carolina until Tim Scott was elected in 2010.


Posted February 20, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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