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The Virginia Black Lifestyle Magazine's Black Women's History Month Recognition 2024: Meet Dr. Shelley Viola Murphy!


Beautiful Black woman smiling.
Dr. Shelley Viola Murphy (Submitted photo).

The month of April is "Black Women's History Month!" The Virginia Black Lifestyle Magazine is excited to highlight incredible Black women throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia!


Meet Dr. Murphy:

Dr. Shelley Viola Murphy, known as “familytreegirl,” is a dedicated genealogist with over three decades of experience. Born in Michigan and now residing in central Virginia, she specializes in genealogy workshops nationwide, emphasizing her “SO WHAT” approach and problem-solving techniques, including timeline use. Murphy serves on the boards of the Library of Virginia, Albemarle Charlottesville, and Fluvanna Historical Societies. She coordinates and teaches at the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI) and develops educational programs for the International African American Museum’s Center for Family History. Murphy holds positions as Genealogist General for the Society of the First African Families of English America, Genealogical Council for the 10 million names project, Trustee for the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History, alongside memberships in multiple genealogy organizations. She is currently the Descendant Project Researcher at the University of Virginia and hosts “Freedmen’s Bureau Friday’s.” Since 2009, she has been an Adjunct Professor at Averett University and conducts personal research across several states.


What are you most known for?

I am most known for being an Advocate for Affordable & Fair Housing & Homeownership & Genealogy.


How would your best friend describe you?

Simply as a loyal friend who tends to be loud, but always available.


What inspires you?

Seeing my adult children help others and helping other find their ancestors.


What is your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishments would be around the birth of my children and to see them grown, obtain college degrees, be independent, and very supportive of whatever I aligned with.


In a perfect world, share one thing you would like to see happen for Black women?

In a perfect world, one meaningful achievement for Black women would be the complete eradication of systemic barriers that have historically limited our access to education, healthcare, professional opportunities, and financial equity.


What are three songs on your playlist, that you think other women should add to theirs? Why?

Cynthia Erivo- "Stand Up"

Teddy Swims- "Lose Control"

Whitney Houston - "I Look to You"


Time to take care of you...


If you could go back in time and have a conversation with your younger self, which year would you return to?

1972, 19 about to turn 20 years old. ...At this pivotal time, standing on the threshold of motherhood, I would say, "You are about to embark on one of the most profound and transformative experiences of your life. The birth of your children will not only redefine you as a person but will also lay the foundation for your greatest achievements. These moments will challenge you, shape you, and ultimately, bring out the best in you. Your children will grow under your love, guidance, and resilience, embodying the values you instill in them. They will become your greatest contributions to the world—kind, educated, independent, and supportive individuals who will make positive impacts in their own unique ways. As you witness each milestone in their lives, from their first steps to their college graduations, know that these are also reflections of your strength, your dedication, and your love. The path will not always be easy, and there will be times of hardship and testing. But through it all, your unwavering commitment to your children will serve as their guiding light, just as they will be yours. Be happy you will be alright!


Where can our readers connect with you?

@TFamilytreegirl



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