Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with William Patrick Murphy, January 17, 1978. Interview B-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Awakening to the injustice of segregation

Murphy briefly describes the process of awakening to the injustice of racism.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with William Patrick Murphy, January 17, 1978. Interview B-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

SEAN DEVEREUX:
You said it took you until you were thirty years old in the Navy to really think through desegregation and get to the point where you questioned things. What about people back in Memphis that you had grown up with?
WILLIAM PATRICK MURPHY:
I think it's fair to say that most of my friends had gone through the same personal learning experience, and I can think of three of my best friends in Memphis now all of whom had the same experience I did. You eventually just come to the point where you realize, if you've got any kind of humanity about you at all, that this is wrong, to treat people differently because of the color of their skin. It's so obvious in retrospect you wonder how the proposition could have been defended. All of my friends had gone through pretty much the same experience that I had.