Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biography of Lula Hugley Murry, 1866-1933

By Nancy Cole, retired librarian

Lula Murry was probably born Lula Hugley in 1866 in Georgia and married James Murry in 1900. U.S. censuses of the time listed James as a mattress maker and Lula working washing and ironing. They had no children. Lula Murray, described as "a grayed and bent woman," was reported killed in a traffic accident in October 1933, when she was walking on a Birmingham street and was hit by a truck. There was more than one Lula Murr(a)y living in Birmingham in these decades and we cannot be absolutely certain as to this identification.

Following passage of the 19th Amendment, Black women in Alabama faced intolerable obstacles to voting – literacy tests, poll taxes, and intimidation. One of those women was Lula Murry of Birmingham, Alabama, who sent a letter to U.S. President Calvin Coolidge in October 1923.

Murry wrote to inform Coolidge of some of her "many grievances." Two of her brothers, she wrote, had served their country in what had become known as the world war to save democracy. One brother lost his life in that war. And "here I stand," she continued, "denied the constitution[al] rights" of the 14th Amendment, affirming the rights of freed men and women after the Civil War, and the 15th Amendment, affirming the right to vote would not be denied on account of race. And despite passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, she wrote Coolidge, she had twice tried and failed to register to vote in Jefferson County, Alabama.

She concluded her letter stating her desire to have the President's assistance in getting "justice." This letter is exhibited in a women's suffrage exhibit from the National Archives.


Lula Murry to President Calvin Coolidge, 17 October 1923, National Archives. Accessible online at

Federal manuscript censuses, Birmingham, AL, 1900-1930. Accessible via Ancestry Library Edition.

"Fourth Fatality Marked in Week," Birmingham (AL) News, 6 Oct. 1933, p. 32.


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