Law school years Murray applied to the University of North Carolina in 1938, but was rejected because she was African-American. The case was broadly publicized in both white and black newspapers. Murray also wrote to officials ranging from the university president to President Roosevelt, releasing their responses to the media in an attempt to embarrass them into action. The NAACP was initially interested in the case, but later declined to represent her in court, apparently fearing that her long residence in New York state weakened her case. NAACP leader Roy Wilkins also opposed the case due to Murray's release of her correspondence, which he considered "not diplomatic". Concerns about her sexuality may also have played a role in the decision; Murray often wore pants rather than skirts and was open about her relationships with women.
I have been increasingly perturbed over the blatant disparity between the major role which Negro women have played and are playing in the crucial grassroots levels of our struggle and the minor role of leadership they have been assigned in the national policy-making decisions. It is indefensible to call a national march on Washington and send out a call which contains the name of not a single woman leader.