BNHA Afro-American Newspapers

Interpretive Framework

Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century

Upholding Independence: Baltimore and the War of 1812

Star Attractions

Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail

Resource Type

Points of Interest

628 N Eutaw St

Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Since its founding in 1892, The Afro-American Newspapers gave voice to the Civil Rights Movement. Founded by John H. Murphy Sr., a former slave, the paper started as a merger of his church’s publication and by 1922 became the most widely circulated black newspaper along the East Coast. Under the 45-year editorship of Carl Murphy, one of the founder’s sons, The Afro-American Newspapers rose to national prominence, with editions throughout the Mid-Atlantic and reaching its peak in 1945 with a weekly circulation of 235,000. The newspapers’ accomplishments were recognized on March 29, 1944 when the S.S. John H Murphy Liberty Ship was launched at the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard.

The Afro-American Newspapers advocated for the hiring of African Americans by Baltimore’s police and fire departments, black representation in the legislature, and the establishment of a state-supported African American university. The paper also campaigned against the Southern Railroad’s use of Jim Crow cars and fought to obtain equal pay for Maryland’s black school teachers. The newspaper’s collaboration with the NAACP against the University of Maryland Law School and its segregationist admission policies helped lead to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision outlawing segregated public schools.

Between 1919 and 1990, the newspaper’s production plant was at 628 N. Eutaw Street in a three-story, block-long building housing the advertising, circulation, and business offices, typesetting machines, engraving plant, teletype room, photographers’ studio, archives, mailing rooms, paper storage rooms and garage. Today, The Afro-American Newspapers publishes the Baltimore and Washington editions, remains the nation’s second-longest-running African American, family-owned newspaper, and carries on the tradition of seeking fairness and balance for its 100,000-plus regular readers, and inserting itself into minority issues at all levels.