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William P. Murphy was born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1919. He graduated from Southwestern College with a degree in political science. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941 but applied and was accepted as an officer candidate in the U.S. Navy. In this interview he describes his experiences on various naval vessels during World War II. After leaving military service in 1945 Murphy went to the University of Virginia School of Law and graduated with his J.D. in 1948. A few years later he moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the Department of Labor. Murphy ultimately decided he wanted to teach law and, therefore, studied to become a legal educator at Yale Law School. He taught at Mississippi School of Law for nine years until 1962. During this time the university was facing mandates to integrate, and Murphy was an outspoken opponent of continued segregation. Murphy taught at a number of law schools including Missouri School of Law, Kentucky College of Law, and eventually UNC School of Law.

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