north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     “O. Henry” is not the only famous North Carolinian born on Polecat Creek in Guilford County. Egbert (he changed it to Edward during college) Roscoe Murrow (April 25, 1908-April 27, 1965) achieved international recognition as a broadcaster for CBS Radio during World War II and set the standard against which television journalists have been judged since.

     Murrow’s ancestors were members of the local Society of Friends and staunch Republicans. His father, who took the name Roscoe from New York Senator Roscoe Conkling, moved his young family in 1913 to Blanchard, Washington, where he worked in logging. Egbert enrolled at Washington State College and subsequently went to D.C. as president of the National Student Federation. In 1935 he became “director of talks” for CBS Radio and in 1937 was dispatched to Europe. Hitler’s annexation of Austria in 1938 began Murrow’s rise to fame. His broadcasts during the Battle of Britain, beginning with “This is London,” are legendary.

      In 1951 Murrow began the series See It Now, the most noted episode of which on March 9, 1954, included his dissection of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. His signature on that series was “Good night and good luck.” From 1953 to 1959 he interviewed celebrities and names in the news on Person to Person. In 1961 he left CBS to serve as head of the United States Information Agency in the Kennedy administration. Murrow, rarely photographed without a cigarette, died of lung cancer four years later. His birthplace burned in 1985. Guilford County readily claims Murrow as a native son. A major route in downtown Greensboro is named Murrow Boulevard.

Alexander Kendrick, Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow (1969)
A. M. Sperber, Murrow: His Life and Times (1986)
Stanley Cloud and Lynne Olson, The Murrow Boys : Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broadcast Journalism (1996)
Joseph Persico, Edward R. Murrow: An American Original (1988)
John A. Garraty, ed., Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement VII, 1961-1965— sketch by Alexander Kendrick
New York Times, 28 April 1965 (obituary)

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north carolina highway historical marker program

Edward R. Murrow

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources