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Emily Murphy Biography
Transcript of Emily Murphy Biography
A biography of Emily
Gowan Ferguson Murphy
A photo of Emily Gowan Ferguson Murphy.
Emily Ferguson Murphy was born on March 14, 1868 in Cookstown, Ontario. She was the third child of Isaac Ferguson who had a total of 6 children.
Her family was very involved with the law and politics and it would be a common subject in the household. Two of her brothers were employed within this subject. Both became lawyers and one even became a member of the Supreme Court!
Emily attended an all-girls’ Anglican school called Bishop Strachan School, located in Toronto. Through a friend at that school, she met her future husband, Arthur Murphy
Here's a fact!
Emily got married to Arthur Murphy in 1887. They started a family and had 4 daughters - Evelyn, Kathleen, Madeleine and Doris. Doris though, had died at a young age from diphtheria – a respiratory tract illness.
Their family moved away to Swan River, Manitoba in 1903 to get a fresh start; away from the traumatic event. Then they moved again to Edmonton, Alberta in 1907.
Cookstown, ON. 1868
Swan River, MB. 1903
Edmonton, AB. 1907
Swan River, MB.
The Supreme Court of Canada
Emily had a strong will to protect women's rights. There was one story which, in fact, inspired her to study the legal implications of injustice. This story was about a woman whose husband sold their farm and left his wife and children with no home or money.
After this, Emily had founded the
Federated Women's Institute
and then joined the
Equal Franchise League
. She there as an activist with activist Nellie McClung as well.
Emily received much support from the rural women to help with this kind of problem. Eventually, the Alberta government passed the Dower Act in 1911 after Emily had pressured them into doing so.
The Dower Act is where the wife has a right to share 1/3 of her husband's property.
Here's a fact!
Thanks to her hard work and dedication in protecting women and children, she was the first female magistrate and she was the first female to be appointed police magistrate in the British Empire (Edmonton, 1916).
The Dower Act
In 1917, Emily led the protest to have women declared as “persons” in Canada. That was due to a previous case where Emily convicted a prisoner, but was denied doing so for not legally being a “person”.
She asked the Senate a question of how women were to become Senators but required 4 other members to submit it. They included Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Irene Parlby.
They became the Famous Five when the Privy Council (in England) declared that women were qualified as “persons” and were qualified to become members of the Senate of Canada. That took place on October 18th, 1929.
The Persons Case
An illustration of the the Superior Court of Justice layout.
Drugs and Relation
Emily had a different view and perspective compared to many others at the time concerning alcohol, drugs, race, etc. She was exposed to drugs and narcotics (like
opium, cocaine, pharmaceuticals, marijuana
, etc.) in several cases in the court which caused her to write about changing the law to make narcotics illegal in many articles.
The Black Candle is a book (written under her pen name - Janey Canuck) about the effects and awareness of the drug trade in Canada, (1922). Eventually, the law about narcotics changed in the 1960’s. Emily believed that many of these problems were due to the larger number of immigrants residing in Western Canada.
A photo of The Black Candle's cover page
Glossary of Drugs
Opium- dried latex from the opium poppy (processed into heroin)
Cocaine- leaves of a coca plant (crystalline tropane alkaloid)
Pharmaceuticals- medicines from pharmacy (prescription drug)
Marijuana- preparation of the Cannabis plant meant for medicine
Timeline of Main Events
March 14, 1868
Birth of Emily
passed Dower Act
Appointed first female
The Black Candle book
about Canada's drug trade
Date of death