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Celebrating Black History Month: The Murphy Family

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

CMHC is celebrating Black History Month!

For this month we plan on sharing some local important figures from Black History every week.

Starting with a family legacy: The Murphy Family

The Afro-American Newspaper, now colloquially referred to as "The Afro," was founded by John Henry Murphy Sr. on August 13, 1892. Mr. Murphy was a former slave who gained freedom following the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. By 1922, Murphy had evolved the newspaper from a one-page weekly church publication into the most widely circulated black paper along the coastal Atlantic and used it to challenge Jim Crow practices in Maryland. Following Murphy’s death on April 5, 1922, his 5 sons took it upon themselves to continue his legacy and his son Carl Murphy took primary editorial control. Under Carl's leadership the paper rose to national prominence. The newspaper was circulated in Baltimore, with regional editions spreading. The Afro’s status as a black paper circulating in several predominantly black communities endowed it with the ability to profoundly affect social change on a national scale. Carl Murphy used the editorial pages of The Afro-American to push for the hiring of African Americans by Baltimore’s police and fire departments; to press for black representation in the legislature; and for the establishment of a state supported university to educate African Americans.During World War II, The Afro-American stationed several of its reporters in Europe, the Aleutians, Africa, Japan, and other parts of the South Pacific, and provided its readers with firsthand coverage of the war. One of its reporters (and Carl Murphy’s daughter), Elizabeth Murphy Phillips Moss, was the first black female correspondent. The Afro-American collaborated with The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on numerous civil rights cases. Following Carl's death, the family legacy continued with our most recent Chair for the Afro being Frances "Toni" Draper, 4th generation of the Murphy family.

The Afro continues to be an incredibly important news outlet and community!

Please visit the site to stay informed:

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