Margaret Rose Murray’s life story is a testimony to her commitment to African-American history, lifelong learning for all people, and work for positive change.
Murray began her own education in the Baltimore City Schools. She went on to study education at Baltimore’s Morgan State College, and earned an associate degree from Knox Business Institute in 1955. In 1982, she completed the early childhood education certificate program at NC State University, and received a master’s degree in African-American studies from Virginia Theological University in 1997. Coming full circle, she completed an associate’s degree in early childhood education at Wake Technical Community College in 2000.
In 1958, Murray and her husband, Imam Kenneth Murray Mohammed, came to Raleigh to raise their family in a smaller city, and to help establish the religion of Islam in the South. Murray worked as a substitute teacher, but found the Raleigh school system lacking in preschool education for African-American children, and in the teaching of African-American history.
In response, the couple co-founded the Vital Link Private School, eventually providing leadership for two Raleigh campuses of Vital Link, where generations of children have learned what they need to succeed academically, as well as the history of African-American achievement. Murray also served education as a fundraiser for United Negro College Fund, the O.A. Dupree Scholarship Fund, St. Augustine’s College, Shaw University and the Garner Road YMCA.
In 1974, Murray started the Womanhood Development program at NC Correctional Institution for Women to encourage inmates to finish school, study a trade, and change their lives for the better. She worked as a volunteer at the prison for over thirty years to nurture the spiritual, emotional, and mental growth and life skills of young women.
A champion for entrepreneurship, Murray was instrumental in creating the Business Building Society of Wake County, a non-profit organization promoting development and patronage of African-American owned businesses. She also facilitated small business start-up and management seminars at St. Augustine’s College.
An articulate and persistent voice for the African-American community, Murray appeared many times before the Raleigh City Council. In 1987, she testified before the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. Her WSHA talk show informed, educated, and inspired countless listeners weekly.
In recognition of her ongoing leadership, Murray was honored as NC Women’s Correctional Center Volunteer of the Year, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Woman of the Year, Tar Heel of the Week, and recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award, the UNCF Fundraising Award, and the Raleigh Women’s Center Rosa Parks Tradition Award.
Margaret Rose Murray once said, “I look at a situation and I know it should not be, so I do what it takes to change it.”
[She continued to persist in her work as mentor, educator, and agent for change, and the City of Raleigh continues to benefit from her commitment, persistence, vision and leadership.]