Voting Rights Act of 1965

People in Your La Jolla Neighborhood: Meet '60s civil rights activist Maureen Murphy

People in Your La Jolla Neighborhood: Meet '60s civil rights activist Maureen Murphy

La Jollan Maureen Murphy didn’t study history when she was younger; she was in it.

In her early 20s, Murphy was a civil-rights activist who campaigned aggressively to register African-American voters all over the still-segregated South. As her thanks, she got shot at by a racist in Louisiana and lost two good friends at one of modern history’s most contemptible crime scenes.

It was outrage over the beating and shooting deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner by the Ku Klux Klan — Schwerner was Murphy’s roommate — that helped gain the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (You might remember a little movie, Mississippi Burning,...

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