Tuscaloosa’s first licensed black embalmer and mortician, Will J. Murphy hired black contractor George Chopton to build this two-story craftsman bungalow in the early 1920s as his private residence. Materials from the old state capitol building a few blocks away, such as bricks and windowsills, were salvaged when it burned in 1923 and used in the house’s construction. This area was where mainly professional African-Americans lived, with beautiful homes adorned by white lace curtains, which gave the area the name “The Lace Curtain Community.”
After Murphy passed away, Sylvia Collins, a local educator, purchased the home before selling it to the city in 1986. Today, the structure operates as the Murphy African American Museum, focusing on the lifestyle of blacks during the early 1900s. During the school year, the museum hosts school children with special programs about the long fight for civil rights in Alabama, as well as black heritage and culture.