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Portraits of Success

36 Years of Community News

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Clockwise: community members: Harrison Crump, Robert L. Grace, Faye Coates, Wm. Davis, Jim Cannon. • the early days of park ave. mbc: Rev. Dean of the Southern Baptist Convention and Bro. Odell Young, interior constructor look on as Dr. Moss of Park Avenue MBC prepares to speak before entering the building. • Pastor’s Organize: Rev. McDonald, Little Zion MBC, Rev. Albert Carter, St. Paul AMEChurch, Rev. Dorothy, St. Paul AME Church, Rev. Dr. David Campbell, New Hope MBC. • UCRBlack Family Day, 1988 special guest Dick Gregory with student leaders. • Black Future Leaders: Brian Fisher, Travis Fisher, Taneeshna Herrington, April Johnson, Kenyatta Martin, Thameenah Muhammad, Dana McKay, Gerson Powell.

36 Years of Community News

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Clockwise: black social workers meet: Joe Dyer speaks during Black Social Workers luncheon. • park avenue grand opening: The mass choir of Park Avenue Baptist Church enters joyfully singing to a congregation of 2,000 persons who attended the grand opening. • martin luther king, III visits the i.e.: Assemblyman Steve Clute presents a State Proclamation to Martin Luther King, III. • rodeo rides into town: Bill Pickett Invitation Rodeo attendees from Perris Valley Arts &Culture group. • racial hate: Fontana KKK marched down Sierra Avenue in Fontana. • early black voice news columnist: Charles Ledbetter early Black Voice columnist from Moreno Valley with students Elpidio DeLores, Marie James, and others. • faith community: Rev. Dr. Marvin Brown, Dr. John Ringgold, Dr. and Mrs. Raihback, Dr. William Turner, Dr. Lamar Foster.

36 Years of Community News

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Clockwise: BLACK VOICE NEWS PUBLISHER: Cheryl Brown interviews Tuskegee Airman General Franklin at Norton AFB. • COMMUNITY LEADER: Georgia Morris, educator, explains “Bakuba Ndop” artifacts in Treasures of African Art book to members of Edison’s Black History Committee: Linda Lee, Robby Hicks, Georgia Morris, Belinda Woods, Carolyn Williamson. • arrowhead elks in san bernardino: Ricky Mims, Errol Alexander, Jacquie Mayfield, Al Wilson, Note Brinkley. • riverside black history parade on university avenue: Jim Cannon, Alex Tortez, Lee Wagner, Warren Banks. • Woman 2 Woman Opens: Dr. Irene Donnely, Dr. Betty Stewart. • black owned medical office opening: Dr George Small cuts ribbon to new medical office in Rialto.

Freedom’s Journal Founded 1827

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ImageFounded on March 16, 1827 as a four-page, four-column standard-sized weekly, Freedom's Journal was the first Black-owned and operated newspaper in the United States, and was established the same year that slavery was abolished in New York State. Begun by a group of free Black men in New York City, the paper served to counter racist commentary published in the mainstream press. Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm served, respectively, as its senior and junior editors.


Freedom's Journal was similar to other ante-bellum reform papers in that its pages consisted of news of current events, anecdotes, and editorials and was used to address contemporary issues such as slavery and "colonization," a concept which was conceived by members of The American Colonization Society, a mostly white pro-emigration organization founded in 1816 to repatriate free Black people to Africa. Initially opposed to colonization efforts, Freedom's Journal denounced slavery and advocated for Black people's political rights, the right to vote, and spoke out against lynchings.


Freedom's Journal provided its readers with regional, national, and international news and with news that could serve to both entertain and educate. It sought to improve conditions for the over 300,000 newly freed Black men and women living in the North. The newspaper broadened readers' knowledge of the world by featuring articles on such countries as Haiti and Sierra Leone. As a paper of record, Freedom's Journal published birth, death and wedding announcements. To encourage Black achievement it featured biographies of renowned Black figures such as Paul Cuffee, a Black Bostonian who owned a trading ship staffed by free Black people, Touissant L'Ouverture and poet Phyllis Wheatley. The paper also printed school, job and housing listings.


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David Walker’s Appeal - Published by one of the Freedom’s Journal’s subscription agents Bostonian David Walker, The Appeal was first published in the Journal’s pages.
At various times the newspaper employed between 14 to 44 agents to collect and renew subscriptions, which cost $3 per year. One of its agents, David Walker from Boston, eventually became the writer of "David Walker's Appeal," which called for slaves to rebel against their masters. Freedom's Journal was soon circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada. A typical advertisement cost between 25 to 75 cents.


Russwurm became sole editor of Freedom's Journal following the resignation of Cornish in September 1827, and began to promote the colonization movement. The majority of the newspaper's readers did not support the paper's radical shift in support of colonization, and in March 1829, Freedom's Journal ceased publication. Soon after, Russwurm emigrated to the American Colonization Society of Liberia, and became governor of the Maryland Colony. Cornish returned and attempted to revive the newspaper in May 1829 under the new name "The Rights of All," but the paper folded after less than a year. Freedom's Journal's two-year existence, however, helped spawn other papers. By the start of the Civil War over 40 Black-owned and operated papers had been established throughout the United States.

The Afro-American Founded 1892

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The Afro-American has crusaded for racial equality and economic advancement for Black Americans for more than a century. In existence since August 13, 1892, John Henry Murphy Sr., a former slave who gained freedom following the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, started the paper when he merged his church publication, The Sunday School Helper with two other church publications, The Ledger (owned by George F. Bragg of Baltimore's St. James Episcopal Church) and The Afro-American (published by Reverend William M. Alexander, pastor of Baltimore's Sharon Baptist Church). 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 five sons, each of whom had been trained in different areas of the newspaper business, continued to manage The Afro-American. Two of his sons, Carl and Arnett Murphy, served respectively as editor-publisher and advertising director.

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continuously publishing- For over a century, The Baltimore Afro-American continues to affect social change in Baltimore and surrounding communities. It is currently under the leadership of fourth generation family members.


The Afro-American rose to national prominence while under the editorial control of Carl Murphy. He served as its editor-publisher for 45 years. The newspaper was circulated in Baltimore, with regional editions circulated in Washington, D.C. twice weekly and in Philadelphia, Richmond, and Newark, once a week. At one time there were as many as 13 editions circulated across the country. The Afro-American'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.                


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Historic Founder - John Henry Murphy, Sr. was a former slave who started the Afro-American in 1892. The publication is still being published by descendents of the original founder.
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.

In the 1930's The Afro-Amerian launched a successful campaign known as "The Clean Block" campaign which is still in existence today. The campaign developed into an annual event and was aimed at improving the appearance of, and reducing crime in, inner-city neighborhoods. The Afro-American also campaigned against the Southern Railroad's use of Jim Crow cars, and fought to obtain equal pay for Maryland's Black school teachers.

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 first hand 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. In the 1950s the newspaper joined forces with the NAACP in the latter's suit against the University of Maryland Law School for its segregationist admission policies. Their combined efforts eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision outlawing segregated public schools. The Afro-American also supported actor/singer Paul Robeson and sociologist W.E.B. DuBois during the anti-Communist campaigns of the Joseph McCarthy era.

The Afro-American has employed many notable Black journalists and intellectuals including Langston Hughes, William Worthy and J. Saunders Redding. In the mid 1930s it became the first Black newspaper to employ a female sportswriter when it hired Lillian Johnson and Nell Dodson to serve on its staff. Renowned artist Romare Bearden began his career as a cartoonist at The Afro-American in 1936.

Sam Lacy, who was hired as the paper's sports editor in 1943 and who, at the age of 94, still writes a weekly column for the paper, used his weekly " A to Z" column to campaign for integration in professional sports.

Using their writing to protest racial inequities in professional sports, Lacy and sports writers such as Wendell Smith of The Pittsburgh Courier helped to open doors for Black athletes. Following the death of Carl Murphy in 1967, his daughter Frances L. Murphy II served as chairman and publisher. In 1974, John Murphy III, Carl's nephew, was appointed chairman and eventually became the publisher. Fourth generation members of the Murphy family, John J. Oliver, Jr. and Frances M. Draper, continue to manage the paper in recent years.


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