F.H.M. Murray: First Biography of a Forgotten Pioneer for Civil JusticeI was busy writing several manuscripts when my mother invited me to her home. This was a memorable day because although glaucoma had robbed her of her physical sight, she had perfect spiritual vision and a lot of wisdom. We spent most of the day discussing the rich history of her grandfather, Freeman Henry Morris Murray. Mother exposed, for the first time, family secrets she had harbored most of her adult life. She had me promise to kept the memory of my great grandfather alive. Not only did mother share new stories with me but she gave me her special box packed with Grandpa Murray’s papers. These documents were the seeds for my research and the inspiration I needed to keep me going for over ten years.

I prepared my first draft and was later diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer. I continued my research and put the writing on hold. I refused radiation and chemo and turned to the Lord. Today, I am cancer free. I credit my strong faith in God who healed me so I could busy myself with research, validate family stories, and write the book.

I also believe divine intervention played a big role in this. I had a supernatural encounter after finding Grandpa Murray’s journals. After opening the first one, the spirit of F.H.M. Murray entered my body and connected to my spirit. I saw him reading his own words through my eyes with his own tears streaming down my face. Then a quite peace came over me and I felt as if he had given me approval to write his book. This was an awesome and unique experience for me.

That day, connected to myself. By reading his words and uncovering his personal thoughts and feelings, for the first time in my life, I understood how I was more like him – explaining why I differed from my siblings. I also learned that my great grandfather was uniquely amazing – full of energy, a visionary, and a pioneer. It was difficult to understand why everyone overlooked him.

F.H.M. Murray did so much for so many. Yet, in all he did, he did it out of love for his fellowman – not for fame or fortune. His one desire was to be remembered in some small way. After he died in 1951 he was completely forgotten. Here is a man who devoted his entire life to fight for equality and civil justice for the betterment of his African American race. Despite segregation and Jim Crow laws, Murray created powerful businesses, which created career jobs for those he mentored and trained. He made American history by becoming the first in many areas. However, what is most impressive to me is how he maintained a full-time job and was still able to do all of the following:

  • Teacher
  • Lecturer
  • Art Historian
  • Civil Rights Activist
  • Proofreader, Editor and Publisher, Newsman/founder of Alexandria Home News and the Washington Tribune newspapers
  • Founder/engineer of the post-Civil War, Murray Underground Railroad of Alexandria, Virginia
  • Founded Murray Brothers Printing Co.
  • Founded Murray Palace Casino
  • Co-founder of the Niagara Movement
  • Co-founder and co-editor of the Horizon: A Magazine of the Color Line
  • Co-founder of the NAACP
  • Author and publisher of Emancipation of the Freed: An Interpretation of Black Folk in Art

F.H.M. Murray’s legacy is complex due to the overlapping careers he had. Perhaps a good part of his story is how it reveals the personal, business, and public character of a great man. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “not everyone can be come famous but everyone can be come great in their service to mankind.” Murray lived his life fully in the service of his fellow man – regardless of the risk, or the cost. But the best part is the detailed new information, describes the Niagara Movement, the Horizon magazine, and the NAACP, including clarity and validation to the conflict surrounding each – plus F.H.M. Murray ‘s close association with W.E.B Du Bois and other social reformers.

My first book was produced through my company, HLE Publishing (a subsidiary of HLE, Inc.) but printed by BookSurge. The only reason I chose BookSurge is of a special rush request by the Harpers Ferry Historical Society. Due to the enormous cost and disappointment I encountered, I realized I needed to have my own company. I have learned much and recognized the benefits of doing it myself. I realized that other writers could benefit from my services. I am pleased to announce that in 2008, HLE Publishing will present several books by other authors to the public. I am excited to be able to publish my own works but even more excited to do it for others.

Look for my upcoming announcement of my new book entitled, Barry A. Murray: Biography in a New Dimension. This is an exciting story about one of this nation’s most radical newspaper publishers serving the District of Columbia. The twist is that Barry walked in the footsteps of F.H.M. Murray, the great grandfather he never knew. Barry was my cousin. I believe you will love it! I actually have 2 other books I hope to publish this year. After that, I can get down to writing and publishing my other twelve works-in-progress that include such genres as autobiographical, biographical, inspirational, true supernatural encounters, suspense, and fiction.

Anita Hackley-Lambert is the author of F.H.M. MURRAY: FIRST BIOGRAPHY OF A FORGOTTEN PIONEER FOR CIVIL JUSTICE. You can visit her website at www.anitahackleylambert.com.  If you would like to pick up a copy of Anita’s book, click here.

Anita Hackley-Lambert’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion.


  1. Thank you! I am delighted to be here to share the story behind my book. The journey from start to finish is amazing.
    There were exciting discoveries and memorable moments along the way.

    For example, I prayed to get a copy of F.H.M Murray’s rare book. The next day I was holding his personal “first” copy and dancing around like a “child in a candy store”! And to think, that book was scheduled for the “trash” the next day. WOW!

    I am here if anyone wants to know more stories about my journey.

    Post me a comment here.

    Anita Hackley-Lambert
    F.H.M. Murray: First Biography of a Forgotten Pioneer for Civil Justice

  2. Fascinating story, Anita. You mentioned Murray Brothers Printing Co. What did they publish–books, newspapers, pamphlets–and was their focus on civil rights?

    Thanks. Good luck with the tour.

    Cheryl M.

  3. Hi Cheryl M.
    Murray Brothers Pritning Co. was founded by F.H.M. Murray for his three sons after their mother died and before they were teenagers. Murray wanted his sons not to have idle minds and got them involved in the printing business early. To his and everyone’s astonishment, by the end of the year, the boys had used the business example of their father and had raked in a profitable and growing business (it’s in the bloodline).

    The community supported the youngsters by letting them print stationery, business cards, flyers, announcements, bulletins, etc. Before long, Murray Brothers Printers had moved its office from their home in Virginia to an office in Washington, DC. From then on, Murray Brothers acquired contracts with the federal government, Bell South, and local businesses. Eventually, the company used its presses to pubish the historical Horizon magazine that supported the Niagara Movement, the first organized civil rights movement in this nation. Later, F.H.M. Murray founded the Washington Tribune newspaper, the largest Black owned paper in D.C. for many years. It was pubished by Murray Brothers Printes. Murray Brothers Printers lasted 89 years!

    There are many stories related to the legacy and careers of F.H.M. Murray. I find each one facinating!

    I love sharing. Thanks for asking.

  4. Anita:

    Your book was a fasinating and historically eye-opening read. Your grandfather Murray was indeed an American, who definately played an important pioneeering role in the the fight for civil justice and equality. His philosophy and approach to achieving many positive goals in life are indeed worth everyone reading your book.

    I hope that this is just the beginning of more information about F.H.M. Murray.

    Your story behind the book article was also a great read. I look forward to more.


  5. Arthur Whitehead:

    I am pleased you enjoyed my book. I agree with you, many readers can learn a lot from Murray’s “enlarged vision” philosophy and proven example.

    Yes, I hope to have more information about F.H.M. Murray in the near future. In the meantime, be on the watch for the Second Edition coming out soon!

    Thanks for your inspiring post.

  6. The Pink Forest by Dana Dorfman is a book that will take you inside yourself, inside your character. Is it true or not? I can’t tell. I learned so much from this book. It has got to be made into a movie.

  7. Thank you for writing this book about our mutual ancestor. I am the grandson of Freeman Miriam Murray, who was the son of Ethel And Norman Murray. Since the passing of first Ethel(Gamma), then Norma, then Freeman, all of whom used to be fixtures at “The Beach”, I have feel like i have lost the link between the history and the grandiose stories and tall tales we tend to tell as Murray’s. I live i DC now close to where Freeman raised his family and i would like to hear more stories to close some gaps i have in my personal family history book.

    Thanks Again

    Norman Dee Murray, III

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