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Clyde E. Murphy, 1948-2010

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Civil rights attorney sued Chicago for discriminating against African-American firefighter applicants

Clyde E. Murphy, a crusading civil rights attorney who won a U.S. Supreme Court case that found Chicago discriminated against African-American firefighter applicants, died Tuesday, Aug. 17, his family said.

Mr. Murphy, 62, died at Illinois Masonic Medical Center after a pulmonary embolism, his family said.

In his 35-year legal career, first with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and more recently as executive director of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Mr. Murphy handled employment discrimination, affirmative-action, police misconduct and housing bias cases.

His pivotal achievement came this year when the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a federal judge's ruling that the city of Chicago discriminated against a group of more than 6,000 African-American applicants who took the 1995 firefighter entrance exam.