Clyde Murphy Memorial Fellowship
Supporting the Next Generation of Black Civil Rights Leaders
The Clyde Murphy Memorial Fellowship was established with the support of Clyde Murphy's family to provide financial assistance to Black law students and graduates who wish to pursue a career in civil rights law. Recipients of the Clyde Murphy Memorial Fellowship work with experienced civil rights attorneys at Chicago Lawyers' Committee by conducting research, advocating for policy reform, and supporting litigation in the areas of education equity, housing opportunity, voting rights, hate crime, police accountability and community economic development. To support this effort, you can make a donation to the Clyde Murphy Memorial Fellowship Fund below.
Clyde E. Murphy (1948-2010) was the Executive Director of Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights from 1995 until 2010. Clyde was a crusading civil rights attorney who took on employment and housing discrimination, police misconduct, and fought to protect affirmative action during his long and accomplished career. In 2010, he won a U.S. Supreme Court case, Lewis v. City of Chicago, that found Chicago discriminated against a group of more than 6,000 Black applicants who took the 1995 firefighter entrance exam.
In 2000, Clyde wrote: "The fundamental goals of the struggle against structural racism in America have not changed. Housing, jobs, education, political power, physical safety: these things were important to the civil rights movement of the past and they remain important today [...] Lawyers have an important role to play in the solution to these problems, but it is an evolving role that includes following as well as leading; listening as well as lecturing; and deal making as well as litigation. We must see ourselves as part of a comprehensive effort that is more community driven."
Those words continue to drive our work today. Thanks to the example and leadership of Clyde Murphy, Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights has become a strong local voice in the fight for racial equity and economic justice.