COLUMBIA -- Julius Murray, a South Carolina Democrat who served in the House of Representatives and as a member of Richland County Council, died on Sunday, September 8, 2019 in Augusta, Ga. He was 81.
Born in Kingsville, South Carolina, Murray was a 1955 graduate of Webber High School in Lower Richland County.
Julius Murray served in the United States Air Force from 1955-1976, achieving a stellar military career. In 1965, he received the nation’s highest peace time award, “The Airman’s Award for Heroism.” Murray was also a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he served as a USAF Technical Sgt. in 1969. In 1970, Julius Murray became the first black Air Force recruiter in South Carolina, and one of the first black Air Force recruiters in the Southeast.
Upon retiring from the Air Force, Murray delved into politics. Elected to Richland County Council in 1976, he was one of the first blacks to be elected countywide.
And, while serving, he became the first black vice chairman of Richland County Council. Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives to what is now District 70, Murray served in the South Carolina General Assembly from 1978-84. He was also a member of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.
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During his career in politics he worked diligently to fund vocational programs, which included the school to work transition components such as cooperative education, community service and job shadowing.
In 1989, Julius Murray became the first black to be appointed to the South Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
A community leader and activist, Murray worked diligently to provide temporary housing for the homeless and food for the unemployed.
In his efforts to preserve a historic mark in the African American Community, Murray bought and renovated the old Carver Theatre on Harden Street. Wanting to preserve its community relevance and its historic legacy, he made sure it was listed on the National Historic Register before selling it to Allen University to be used as an auditorium.
As president & CEO of Murray Contracting and Property Management, Murray was a stable force in the community as a leader, confidant and businessperson.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 11a.m. at the First Nazareth Baptist Church, 2351 Gervais Street, Columbia, South Carolina. Burial is scheduled at Fort Jackson National Cemetery and the repast will be at 1335 Elm Abode Terrace, Columbia, SC 29210. J.P. Holley Funeral Home is in charge of services.