Thursday, August 19, 2010 6:15 PM
Hey Charlotte Salsa Maniacs,
There are still a few tickets left for tomorrow's Black, White and Salsa all over Latin cruise. Tonight at Cosmos, Cassandra Parrish and Brandon who are the principal sponsors of this cruise; along with Marlo (one of the assistant organizers for this site) will be at Cosmos, and you can buy tickets from them. You can look them up on this site to see what they look like. I plan to be there, so you can look for me the Cat in the Hat. I believe in being supportive of those in our latin dance community who put on such events. I am so delighted that 18 of you are coming. I hope you have been in touch with Cassandra for purchase and details. Marlo is a fabulous cook, and she is doing some special parts of the catering. Thank you all for being so supportive.
I had planned to be at Cosmos tonight, and I still may make it. However, one of my best friends, Clyde Murphy, died suddenly two days ago. We went to Yale together, played in a band together, same fraternity, he was in my wedding when I first got married coming out of Yale (although the marriage did not last our friendship did). He was an outstanding man, and I am trying to make arrangements to go to Chicago, so I apologize if I am a little distracted. It is times like this that dancing is so important... as very few things relief stress as well dancing.
I am taking the liberty to share his obituary which appeared in the Chicago Tribune yesterday. I am also writing a tribute for the Yale Community (I may share my own tribute... know that it will not be one of sadness; for when I think of him, all I can do is smile. Clyde, who we called Murph the surf, Clyde the glide, was a cool brother. I miss him already. He was a champion for civil rights, recently winning a very important case before the United States Supreme Court, in which he fought for and won protecting the rights of others.
Appreciate those in your life, as much as you appreciate your own life, for the next moment is not promised. As my dad told me before he died: "don't take your dreams to your grave."
Well enough for now,
Muhammad "The Cat in the Hat"
The obit follows for those who care to read it.
P.S. He was so much older than me (smile).
Supreme Chicago attorney
The crusading civil rights attorney won a U.S. Supreme Court case that found Chicago discriminated against African-American firefighter applicants.
Clyde E. Murphy, a crusading civil rights attorney who won a U.S. Supreme Court case that found Chicago discriminated against African-American firefighter applicants, died Tuesday, Aug. 17, his family said.
Mr. Murphy, 62, died at Illinois Masonic Medical Center after a pulmonary embolism, his family said.
In his 35-year legal career, first with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and more recently as executive director of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Mr. Murphy handled employment discrimination, affirmative-action, police misconduct and housing bias cases.
His pivotal achievement came this year when the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a federal judge's ruling that the city of Chicago discriminated against a group of more than 6,000 African-American applicants who took the 1995 firefighter entrance exam.
In 1998, Mr. Murphy and the Chicago Lawyers' Committee filed the lawsuit, Lewis v. City of Chicago, alleging that the entrance test's cutoff score favored white candidates.
In 2005, a federal judge ruled the cutoff score was "meaningless." The city's lawyers appealed, but in May, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the African-American applicants.
"It was a very significant case," said Theodore M. Shaw, professor at Columbia University Law School and former director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "But even before that case, Clyde was already nationally known for his civil rights work. He was a good lawyer and a good man in so many ways."
Mr. Murphy was born in Kansas and moved to Miami as a child. He attended Yale University, getting a bachelor's degree in psychology, then went on to Columbia Law School in New York, where he got his law degree.
In 1975, Mr. Murphy took a job as assistant counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. There, he developed an extensive federal civil rights practice specializing in discrimination cases and litigation for social change.
"As a black man, he saw discrimination around him," said his wife, Monica. "From the beginning, he said the only reason he became a lawyer was to work in civil rights. The only reason he went to law school was to help black people and others overcome discrimination."
In 1995, Mr. Murphy left New York to lead the Chicago Lawyers' Committee, handling several high-profile cases. In 2000, he helped defend a new state district map challenged by the Illinois Republican Party.
A three-judge panel upheld the Democratic-drawn redistricting plan, ruling that the plan provided African-Americans an effective opportunity to elect candidates of their choice in a number of districts proportionate to their population.
In 2003, Mr. Murphy was part of a joint lawsuit accusing the Chicago Housing Authority of failing to provide adequate relocation services to families displaced by public housing demolition.
After filing the firefighter suit, Mr. Murphy spoke out on why it was a necessary step to diversifying the Chicago Fire Department.
"Racism in America is a long-term problem," Mr. Murphy said in a March 2004 story published in the Chicago Defender. "You're not going to get anybody to completely integrate the CFD overnight, but we have set in motion the steps that would ultimately do that."
Mr. Murphy is also survived by a son, Jamal, and two daughters, Akua and Naima.
Services are pending.