Eastern Michigan University
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Mary-Elizabeth Murphy

Assistant Professor of History

murphy 701-H Pray Harrold




Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2012.

A.B., Mount Holyoke College, 2004.

Interests and Expertise

Mary-Elizabeth Murphy specializes in U.S. History, Women’s Studies, and African American History.  Her dissertation, “African American Women’s Politics, Organizing, and Activism in Washington, D.C., 1920-1930” examined the ways that black women banded together to wage an early civil rights movement in the nation’s capital, addressing issues within their neighborhoods, across the city at large, and throughout the country.  Prior to her appointment at Eastern Michigan, Murphy served as an Assistant Teaching Professor at Drexel University between 2011 and 2013.  She is currently revising her book manuscript, which is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press.


Published Work:

A National and Local Affair: African American Women’s Politics in Washington, D.C., 1920-1945 (under contract from the University of North Carolina Press).

“‘The Servant Campaigns’: African American Women and the Politics of Economic Citizenship in Washington, D.C. in the 1930s,” Special Issue, Journal of Urban History, “Debating African American Urban Politics in the Age of Jim Crow,” edited by Lisa G. Materson and Joe William Trotter, Jr., forthcoming.

“Carrie Williams Clifford,” in “Black Women Suffragists, 1917,” Women and Social Movements in the United States, September 2016.

Olwell, Russell, Mary-Elizabeth Murphy and Pierre Rice, “‘It Changes Your Life: The Value of Field Trips in African-American History for High-School Students in an Out-of-School Program,” Teaching History, Spring 2016, 40-43.

“War Veterans as Central Actors in New Deal Politics,” review of Stephen Ortiz, Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill: How Veteran Politics Shaped the New Deal Era (2009), H- Net, September 2011.

Conference Papers:

“‘The Civil War Still Rages Along the Jam-Packed Potomac’: African American Women’s Political Activism in Wartime Washington, D.C.” Annual Meeting, Organization of American Historians, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2017,

‘“The Eyes of the World Are Upon Us’: The Spatial Politics of Anti-Lynching Activism in Washington, D.C.,” Annual Meeting, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Richmond, Virginia, October 2016, forthcoming.

“Mapping Resistance: African Americans, the Great Migration, and Protests against Bus Segregation in the United States, 1920-1940,” Midwest World History Association, Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, September
2016, forthcoming.

‘“Make Washington Safe for Negro Womanhood’: African American Women and the Politics of Police Violence in Washington, D.C., 1928-1945,” New Perspectives on Violence & Revolution in the African Diaspora, George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, Pennsylvania State University, April 4-5, 2016.

“‘The Civil War Still Rages Along the Jam-Packed Potomac’: African American Women’s Political Activism in Wartime Washington, D.C.” 42nd Annual Conference on Washington, D.C. History, Washington, D.C., November 14, 2015.

‘“The Mudsill of the New Social Order:’ African American Women and the Politics of Economic Justice in Interwar Washington, D.C.,” American Historical Association Annual Meeting, January 2014.

The History & Philosophy Department is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, 701 Pray Harrold, 734.487.1018