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Oral history interview with Speaker Tom Murphy, 1997 October 14

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Type: Oral histories | Moving images | MovingImage
Creator: Murphy, Thomas Bailey, 1924-2007
Steely, Mel
Title: Oral history interview with Speaker Tom Murphy, 1997 October 14
Date: 1997 Oct. 14
Description: Thomas Bailey "Tom" Murphy (1924-2007) was born in Bremen, Georgia on March 10, 1924, and lived there for most of his life. After graduating from North Georgia College in Dahlonega he joined the U.S. Navy, serving in the south Pacific during World War II. After returning home he earned a law degree from the University of Georgia in 1949, and returned home to practice law with his older brother James. In 1960, Murphy was elected to represent his hometown and the surrounding area as a Democrat in the state legislature, where he remained until defeated in 2002. In the state House of Representatives, Murphy served as Governor Lester Maddox's floor leader from 1967-1970, and as Speaker pro tem from 1970-1973. He was elected Speaker in 1973 and became the longest serving House Speaker of any U.S. state legislature. Murphy held power using hardball politics, closely controlling the state's finances and redistricting every ten years. He was instrumental to the growth of Atlanta, and Georgia, having a hand in transportation, economic, and building issues. He was defeated by Bill Heath in 2002, unable to hold back a Republican tide any longer. Murphy suffered a stroke in 2004, and died in December 2007.

This interview takes place in Tom Murphy's office on October 14, 1997 with Dr. Mel Steely.

This interview covers the years from 1976 to 1997. Murphy continues to discuss his issues with media and presentation of himself in the news. Murphy discusses his staunch status as a Democrat throughout the interview, often noting his distaste for Republicans. In the end of the interview, Murphy gives his opinions on the future of Georgia politics, including the speaker who would succeed him. He talks about his views on political figures both local and national, including Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton. He also assesses his relationship and work experiences with different lieutenant governors over his tenure as Speaker. He says that he has been conservative his whole life, but that party politics no longer adhere to being conservative or liberal. He concludes by saying that he would never really "retire," and that family and education are the most important things in life.

Subjects: Murphy, Thomas Bailey, 1924-2007--Interviews | Georgia--Politics and government--1865-1950 | Georgia--Politics and government--1951- | Legislators--Georgia--Interviews | Georgia. General Assembly. House of Representatives--Speakers--Interviews | World War, 1939-1945--Veterans--Interviews | North Georgia College--Alumni and alumnae--Interviews | Georgia. General Assembly. Senate | Barnes, Roy E. (Roy Eugene), 1948- | Busbee, George, 1927- | Bush, George, 1924- | Carter, Jimmy, 1924- | Clinton, Bill, 1946- | Gingrich, Newt | Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003 | Miller, Zell, 1932- | Perdue, Tom | Reagan, Ronald | Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002 | Georgia. Dept. of Corrections | Georgia. Dept. of Transportation | Democratic Party (Ga.) | Press and politics--Georgia | Georgia
Contributors: Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections | University of West Georgia. Georgia's Political Heritage Program
Online Publisher: Carrollton, Ga. : Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections in association with the Digital Library of Georgia, 2010
Original Material: Georgia's Political Heritage Program oral history interviews. Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections, Irvine Sullivan Ingram Library, State University of West Georgia
Rights and Usage: Cite as: [interview title], Georgia's Political Heritage Program oral history interviews. Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections, Irvine Sullivan Ingram Library, University of West Georgia
Related Materials: Forms part of the online collection: Georgia's Political Heritage Program.
Persistent Link to Item: http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/uwg/phc/do:murphyt3

Related Institutions: Digital Library of Georgia
Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections
Collection Information: Georgia's Political Heritage Program