Murphy High School (Alabama)

Murphy High School (Alabama)
Murphy High School
Murphy High School in 2008
Established April 26, 1926
Type Public high school
Principal William Smith
Faculty 130
Students ~2600
Grades 9-12
Location 100 South Carlen Street,
Mobile, Alabama, United States
Campus Urban
Colors Blue and Gold
Mascot Panther
Yearbook Mohian
Newspaper The Murphy Hi Times

Murphy High School
Built: 1926
Architect: Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton;
Rogers, George B.
Architectural style: Spanish Colonial Revival
Governing body: Mobile County Public School System
NRHP Reference#: 82001612[1]
Added to NRHP: November 4, 1982[1]

Murphy High School, located in Mobile, Alabama, is a public high school operated by the Mobile County Public School System that educates grades 912.



In 1922 the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) began to plan for the construction of a new high school that would serve the entire county, as the facilities of Barton Academy were becoming overcrowded.[2] In 1923 the Mobile County School Board acquired 38 acres (15 ha) from the Carlen family for the site of their proposed high school complex. The cornerstone of the school was laid on 14 December 1925, and on 26 April 1926, Mobile High School opened. Construction costs totaled $850,000 for the first six buildings with an additional $200,000 spent on the gymnasium and the indoor pool installed in 1930.[3] Two years after its opening the school's name was changed to Murphy High School in honor of Samuel Silenus Murphy, MCPSS superintendent from 1900-1926.[2] While still called Mobile High School, the yearbook had been called the "Mobile High Annual".[2] At the change of the name to Murphy High School, the workers did not want to change the name of the yearbook. They agreed to shorten the name to "Mohian", or a shortened version of Mobile High Annual.[2]

The school was desegregated in 1963 when three African American students brought a case against the Mobile County School Board for being denied admission to the then all-white school.[4] The court ordered that the three students be admitted to Murphy for the 1964 school year.[4] By the Fall of 1970, following stringent desegregation efforts within Alabama, the school's total enrollment of 2,140 numbered 1,500 Negro and 640 other students. At the same time, the school had 34 Negro teachers and 53 other teachers on its 87-member faculty.[5]

In 1982 Murphy was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.[2] In 1987 it was selected as a Presidential Model School by the U.S. Department of Education.[2] Redbook Magazine named Murphy as one of the top high schools in the United States and one of the largest high schools in Alabama in 1994.[2] Murphy students were also featured in Seventeen magazine issue for November 1996 fashion trends in high school. Several students from the class of 1997 and 1998 are included in the magazine.


Murphy attracts students from all over Mobile County. It has extensive offering of courses, including 14 courses of Advanced Placement and the International Baccalaureate program. An average of 65% of Murphy's seniors attend four-year colleges, and approximately 20% attend two-year colleges, including vocational training. From 1990-2003, Murphy had 24 National Merit semi-finalists, and 28 commended students. Nine students earned National Achievement Recognition. Murphy also offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

With block-scheduled classes, instituted in the school year of 1997-1998, students spend 96 minutes per class and earn one credit for each class per semester.

Beginning in the 2010-2011 school year, the MCPSS instituted a new schedule for all high schools. In addition to 4 full-credit classes each semester, a 45 minute "mini-block" class was added in the middle of the day for enrichment and remediation. Students only receive one-half credit for each of these classes each semester.

Dress code

The MCPSS requires all schools to have a school uniform policy. All students at Murphy are required to wear light blue oxford shirts, khaki pants with a black or brown belt, and black or brown shoes. Shirts must not have a manufacturer logo. Students are not permitted to wear corduroy or denim material. Skirts and capri pants are not permitted. Shirts must remain tucked in.

Vice Principals

Clint Allen, Serena Wilcox, Joseph Conick, P. Hunter, G. Cunningham, & A. Gatewood.

School creed

Let me remember that, if I am really to live, I must live my own life.
For when I pretend to be someone else, to claim someone else's ideas and knowledge, I am not actually living at all.
Let me be constantly broadening the horizons of my own understanding, my own knowledge, my own beliefs;
striving to be, when each day dies, better than the morning found me.
Let me learn to be a giver in this school fellowship and not one who takes and only takes.
Let me seek to share my knowledge, my zeal, and my faith through service to those about me.
Let the light of my enthusiasm and friendship so shine that others may be guided aright.
Let me find my task and ever have the courage and persistence to do it.
Let me keep my standards on a plane that will be a credit to my home, an honor to my school, a strength to myself, and an influence for my Creator.
And, o'er all else, in the living of these high school days—let my life be a true expression of what "I" believe.

Alma mater

Stan Mitchell, president of the student council in 1944 started a drive for an Alma Mater and received many songs written by Murphy students. Weezie Durant explained the good points of song number one at a student assembly, claiming the words of the song described perfectly the spirit and beauty of Murphy. Song number one year later became the Alma Mater, and it was revealed that the song was written by Stanley McLain. On May 11, 1945 the students voted to select the Alma Mater as their own.

In days of old, when Spaniards bold were sailing Mobile Bay,
A dream was born one early morn. That dream's come true today.
Now colleges and high schools too may have traditions old.
But none can boast the glorious birth of Murphy's Blue and Gold.

They built a shrine to knowledge fine, they called it Murphy High.
A soul was there, a soul so fair, whose spirit shall never die.
They took the blue of deepest hue, the blue of southern sky.
They took the gold from the sun so old, the colors of Murphy High.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g ""Murphy High School"". "Public School Review LLC website". Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  3. ^ ""School History"". "Murphy High School Alumni Association". Retrieved 2008-03-11. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b Thomason, Michael. Mobile : the new history of Alabama's first city,pages 260-261. Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, 2001. ISBN 0817310657
  5. ^ United States Department of Health Education and Welfare (DHEW) Office for Civil Rights, Directory of Public Secondary and Elementary Schools in Selected Districts: Fall 1970, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1972, p. 16. Terms are those used in the official report..
  6. ^ "Philanthropist James Fail endows principal cello chair" (Press release). Mobile Symphony. 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 

External links

Portal icon Alabama portal
Portal icon Schools portal

Coordinates: 30°40′58″N 88°05′11″W / 30.68277°N 88.08638°W / 30.68277; -88.08638

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