Philip Murray Senior High School opened in 1963 as an all-girls school, and was merged with nearby all-boys Wilbur Wright High School (which had opened in 1928) to create Murray–Wright.
The Detroit School Board selected the site for the school in its September 6, 1959, board meeting. The board named the school after Philip J. Murray, a labor leader, in January 1960. The rededication ceremony occurred on November 23, 1965. It was previously Philip Murray Senior High School.
In 1969, a group of around 20 students demanded the removal of principal Lucy Duck, who was a White American. The students threatened to forcibly close the school if their demand was not met. Most of the students were members of the Association of Black Students.
In February 1970, about 120 U.S. history students from Centennial High School in Windsor, Ontario visited Murray–Wright. In April 1970, 85 black students from Murray–Wright visited Centennial for a day to discuss whether they preferred nonviolent or violent methods of achieving racial equality.
On November 30, 1970, a 17-year-old student received stab injuries in a cafeteria, and was in serious condition at the Detroit Receiving Hospital. Two 16-year-olds were arrested.
On February 12, 1976, about six intruders, who according to police looked like junior high students or younger, entered Murray–Wright. According to the police, they were searching for a student who had “stolen one of their girlfriends.” Two teachers discovered the intruders and asked them to leave. A security guard escorted the intruders down a hallway as about six Murray–Wright students followed the intruders as they were leaving. Outside of the door to the school, two of the intruders brandished guns and fired into the group, shooting and injuring five students. One of the injured was treated and released and the others were treated at Henry Ford Hospital.
In 1981, the school planned to show about 200 students an educational film; they were junior and senior level students of teachers who were administering standardized tests to sophomore students. The school inadvertently screened The Howling, an R-rated horror movie. Most of the students were under the age of 18.
In 2004, the school had about 1,500 students. On Monday February 9, during that year, vandals attacked the school, damaging computer equipment, breaking windows, and causing other destruction. In October of that year, after a pep rally went out of control, police detained six juveniles and arrested six adults.