Old Soldiers, New Territory

A number of the old members of the black press are still in existence. Newspapers, such as the Chicago Defender, the Norfolk Journal and Guide and the Miama Times continue to crusade against the cruel injustices of the world. Only two of these early papers, however, have made the jump from print publication to online publication: the Afro-American and the Indianapolis Recorder. Each paper seeks to fulfill the age-old black press principle of informing as they use a new medium.


"The responsibility of the Black newspaper is to guide, counsel, educate, help people in trouble and through its column suggest solutions to problems and means of correcting injustices" (Pride and Wilson, 1997). Although the following quote was spoken by his granddaughter, the publishing principles of Afro-American founder, John S. Murphy Sr., lived in the words. The former slave and whitewasher formed the newspaper in 1892. It was the result of a merger of Murphy's Sunday School Helper and two other church publications. Almost sixty years following this union, the Afro had grown from a one-page church weekly to "the most widely circulated black paper along the coastal Atlantic" (http://www.pbs.org/blackpress/news_bios/afroamerican.html, 1999). As many as 13 editions were circulated across the country. The main headquarters are located in Baltimore, with regional papers found in Newark, Philadelphia, Richmond and Washington, D.C.

Over the past hundred and seven years, the Afro has been an advocate for the Black community. Some of its successes include:

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A Timeline of the Black Press
Definition of the Black Press
Old Soldiers, New Territory: Afro-Americ@
Old Soldiers, New Territory: The Indianapolis Recorder
New Challenges for New Frontiersman
Black Press Gallery