Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. again is making Logan County proud as the talented performer will be honored this evening at the Marriott Hotel in Charleston as he officially will be inducted into The West Virginia All Black Schools Sports and Academic Hall of Fame. Landau, as he prefers to be called, will receive the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Hall of Fame Board — the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. It is one of several awards the organization is slated to hand out.
Founded September 19, 2006, the Hall of Fame was originally created to preserve the history of black education in West Virginia prior to 1954 and to honor African-American role models of yesterday. The Hall of Fame induction categories include: 1. The Greatest of the Great; 2. Sports/Academic; 3. Lifetime Achievement; 4. Icons Award; 5. Legends Award; and 6. Vanguard Honors. The Icons award goes to the last living faculty, staff or school personnel, while the Legends award is bestowed upon “pioneers of progress” and the Vanguard award goes to the heirs of a member who has shown leadership and is at the forefront of developments in their field.
For local African-American historian Claude Williams, who for many years has fought for the freedoms and rights that most “Black Americans” have come to know, it is a proud moment for the Cora native.
“Landau represents the good of all of Logan County,” Williams said proudly. He has made us all extremely proud, and everywhere I travel, I brag on him and our county.”
For Murphy, who defied all the odds in winning television’s widely viewed “America’s Got Talent” show in September of 2011, he has already been bestowed a tremendous honor earlier this year in Baltimore, Md., when he was named one of the United States Jaycees’ Ten Outstanding Young Americans. For over 75 years the Jaycees organization has annually recognized the ten young men and women under the age of 40 who best exemplify the highest attributes of the nation’s emerging generation. The Jaycees have existed throughout the nation as a civic organization for nearly 100 years and its members have traditionally been dedicated to evolving positive change through a willingness to create sustainable solutions in their communities. There once existed a Logan County Jaycees program of which this writer was a member. That organization no longer exists despite an increasing amount of Logan natives who rank under the “tender” age of 40, a requirement to be a member.
Murphy joined outstanding company when honored this past June 28th as previous honorees who have been recognized include: Bill Clinton (1979), John F. Kennedy (1946), Dick Cheney (1976), Kurt Warner (2010), Wayne Newton (1977), Gale Sayers (1969), Elvis Presley (1970) and Michele Tafoya in 2001.
While Logan Countians have over the years displayed a fondness for many of the aforementioned personalities — particularly Kennedy, Presley and Clinton — it can be rightfully said that the verdict is in: Landau Eugene Murphy, the same Landau that once sang tunes while he washed cars for a living, and who now is simply “living the dream”, is Logan County’s favorite son and ambassador. And, what a fine one he has proven to be.
Another outstanding Logan County native who is expected to be present this evening when Murphy is to be honored is Chapmanville’s Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.