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Thu, 04.10.1884

Nathan A. Murray, Teacher and Librarian born

Nathan A. Murray

*Nathanial Allison Murray was born on this date in 1884. He was a Black teacher and librarian. From Washington, D.C., his parents were educators Daniel Alexander Payne Murray and Anna Jane Evans Murray. His father, Daniel, was one of the first African American librarians for the Library of Congress and was considered a leading authority on the Black American experience. His mother, Anna, was an educator and helped secure the first federal funding for kindergarten in the United States.

Murray grew up with six brothers and sisters surrounded by a small, prosperous Black upper class. Murray attended Armstrong Manual Training School, a vocational school his great uncle, Wilson Bruce Evans, an activist and businessman of Oberlin, Ohio, helped establish. Murray pursued graduate work after completing his undergraduate studies at Howard. In the fall of 1905, Murray entered Cornell University as a student in the College of Agriculture. He made the acquaintance of his classmates and Charles C. Poindexter, who worked in the department of Agriculture. 

At Cornell, he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Chapter's first committee on the organization of the new fraternal group and the committee on the Grip. The charter member of Washington's Mu Lambda Chapter was a frequent attendee of General Conventions. He later returned to Washington, D.C., where he taught in public schools.

Much of his career was spent at Armstrong Vocational High School in the District of Columbia. As an educator, Jewel Murray taught in the District School System as an instructor in agriculture and biology at Armstrong Manual Training High School. In 1945, Murray was the only African American to enter among 300 competitors in the Third Annual Victory Garden Harvest Show sponsored by the Washington Gas light company. He won three prizes for his plant specimen: a Swiss Chard plant, a salad vegetable, and three winter squash fruits he raised at the Phelps Vocational School. Nathanial Murray died in 1959.

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