Butterfield Remembers Civil Rights Attorney Romallus Murphy

Dec 29, 2011
Press Release

WILSON, NC – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) today issued the following statement on the death of civil rights attorney Romallus Murphy:

“It is with deep sadness that I express my condolences to the family of my good friend, Romallus Murphy.  A heralded intellectual and social justice activist, Romallus Murphy lived a purposeful and passionate life for what he loved—his community, equality, and, above all, his family.

“Romallus first became a prominent figure in the civil rights movement when in 1961 he challenged the City of Wilson’s unconstitutional election procedures, which made it impossible for African Americans to get elected to the city council.  Romallus litigated the case, Watkins v. City of Wilson, through state courts and before the United States Supreme Court.  Although the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the case, it later became a part of the record that supported passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

“I am certain that one of the reasons Wilson now enjoys a fair election process is because of the trails Romallus blazed during the civil rights movement and beyond.

“His distinct legacy inspires the legal community and general public alike.  He will be missed.”