AFRO Celebration Logo

On Apr. 23, the AFRO will celebrate the many contributions women have made to the success of the organization over the past 125 years and we want you to be a part of it. “Women of the AFRO American Newspapers” will pay tribute to the numerous women who have worked at the paper over the years and the event will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Sharon Baptist Church in Baltimore. If you worked at the AFRO, in any capacity, over the years call Diane Hocker, director of community and public relations, at 410-554-8243.

The AFRO American Newspapers began on Aug. 13, 1892 when founder, John H. Murphy Sr., merged his one-page weekly church publication The Sunday School Helper with two other church publications, The Ledger and The Afro American. The consolidation was only possible because of a $200 loan from Murphy’s wife, Martha Howard Murphy. That loan turned a church newsletter into the most widely circulated Black publication along the Atlantic coast.

Martha Murphy’s legacy lived on at the paper through the women who came after her such as Frances Murphy, Eva Barnes, Gertrude Steel, Arnetta Lottier, Mae Dyson, Lula Jones Garrett and Ruth Jenkins. These are just a few of the women who sacrificed and contributed to the paper to ensure it would reach 125 years.

Martha Murphy’s torch still burns bright at the AFRO in the 21st century as seen in former editor Rev.

Dorothy Scott Boulware who continued the legacy of women in leadership roles at the paper for close to 19 years along with Diane Hocker, director of community and public relations, who is the current incarnation of Ms. Santa and coordinator of the rebooted Clean/Green Block Campaign, who has been here for over 20 years.

The “Women of the AFRO American Newspapers” event is just one of many to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the AFRO this year including, the AFRO’s Black History Month program honoring leaders in education, the Clean/Green Block Initiative and the upcoming tea. The celebration will culminate with a 125th Anniversary Gala on August 12. For more information on 125th anniversary events, visit