Oregon State University
Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection

Hazel Murray Oral History Interview. June 23, 1983

Hazel Murray Oral History Interview

Interview conducted by Michael Grice.

June 23, 1983

Location:  Location Unknown.

Hazel Murray was born into a sharecropper family in North Carolina on August 20th, 1913. Though he couldn’t attend school past second grade, he learned the fundamentals of electrician work and worked as a contractor in the south before being drafted into the Army in 1943. Stationed in Vancouver, Hazel visited Portland Oregon and later settled there after meeting his wife in the area. He discusses “white trade only” signs in Vancouver that angered the non-white solders, who “wrecked” downtown Vancouver on a Saturday night. In 1945 Hazel left the army and worked at in the shipyards for six months before joining the Union Pacific Railroad. Hazel describes the “miserable” working conditions as a railroad fourth cook. He retired after thirty years in 1975.