This year, the AFRO is celebrating the anniversary of the initial publication of its newspapers 125 years ago, in August 1892. At its inception, the AFRO’s objective was to inform and strengthen the African-American community while simultaneously projecting Black cultural pride in a hostile racist society that violently threatened any hint of civil equality on every level. John H. Murphy Sr., instead of accepting the limitations facing the African-American race at that time, chose to expose, challenge and overcome these threats by using the AFRO as a tool for change.
Under Murphy’s guidance, the AFRO assisted in igniting the Black community ‘s self confidence that slowly, but incessantly, began to emerge in the first decades of the 20th Century. As the paper matured, so did the African-American community’s belief in its ability to voice its objection against the continued denial of the civil rights guaranteed by the founders of this country. It is clear that through the AFRO and the other Black Press members’ amplification of racial injustices, the Black community began to force the majority to recognize the entitlements they could no longer negate based upon race.
This became the overwhelming focus of the AFRO’s first 125 years. The reporting of the AFRO during this period highlighted the outrage, instigation, encounters and eventual reduction of some of the barriers the African-American community had been required to endure and overcome. In spite of the passage of time, however, many barriers unfortunately continue to exist today. The Black community’s struggle for equality and civil rights thus continues and the AFRO’s job is therefore, indeed, far from over.
The gala of the AFRO reaching its first 125th year benchmark is, nevertheless, a celebration of the achievements of the entire African-American community over the past 125 years. The AFRO’s 125 years of reporting is a Black history amplification of the Black community’s struggle to participate in an American society on equal basis with all American citizens regardless of race.
The AFRO’s Anniversary is also an acknowledgment of the life-long commitments of the individuals who have dedicated their lives to report, print, circulate and communicate the news over the AFRO’s past 125 years. In recognition of the AFRO’s continuing publication commencing with the visionary guidance of the founding publisher John H. Murphy, Sr, and his wife Martha Howard Murphy, through the leadership of the 2nd AFRO publisher, Carl Murphy, and to all the succeeding publishers, AFRO directors, officers and employees who have participated in producing a prodigious number of AFRO print and digital publications over the years: