Murphy High School
Opened in 1926, Murphy High School is a public school in Mobile County, Alabama.
Backstory and Context
Murphy High School, originally named Mobile High, was opened in 1926. The school sits on 38 acres of land purchased by the school board from the Carlen family in 1923. It is located in midtown Mobile on Carlen Street. Local architect George B. Rogers, who holds much architectural praise, was chosen to design the school (1). The school was desegregated in 1963 (2). Although there were issues, Murphy High School handled desegregation better than other schools in the Mobile area (3). Since desegregation, the school has had a diverse selection of students. The student population is about 2,400 with almost 200 faculty and staff members.The campus is made up of fourteen buildings of Spanish Colonial Revival and French Creole Architecture (4,5). These buildings are home to a wide array of classes in all subjects. The school was renamed for Samuel S. Murphy who was Mobile Public School Superintendent from 1900-1926 (6). In 1982, the school was chosen to be on the United States Department of the Interior National Register of Historic Places. On Christmas day of 2012, Murphy High was severely damaged by a tornado (7). Students were displaced from the school for a semester and moved into portable trailer classrooms on a nearby middle school campus. Renovations, such as a new band room and a revamping of the auditorium, have taken place on the campus since the tornado. Graduates of Murphy High School are very proud of their alma mater. The school's alumni association is very strong in numbers and support for the school (8). Some notable alumni of Murphy High School include former NFL players Joey Jones, Billy Shipp, Jerrel Wilson, US Marines Eugene Sledge and Sidney Phillips, NASA astronauts Clifton Williams and Kathryn P. Hire.
1. The WPA Guide to Alabama: The Camellia State. Federal Writer's Project.
2. Lewis W. Jones, "Desegregation of Public Education in Alabama.”
3. Richard Alan Pride, Political Use of Racial Narratives: School Desegregation in Mobile, Alabama. Vol. 2.
4. Mitchell B. Garrett, "The Preservation of Alabama History," The North Carolina Historical Review, vol. 5, no. 1 (January, 1928): 3-19. JSTOR.
5. Jay D. Edwards, "The Origins of Creole Architecture," Winterthur Portfolio, vol. 29, no. 2/3 (1994): 155-189. JSTOR.
6. Today's Education. Vol. 7-9.
7. Giles Slade, American Exodus: Climate Change and the Coming Flight for Survival
8. Stewart Jr., Ernest T. "Alumni Support and Annual Giving." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 301, 123-139. Published 1955. JSTOR.