626-628 North Eutaw Street (Commercial Building), 626-628 North Eutaw Street & 400-412 Druid Hill Av, Baltimore, Independent City, MD
626-628 North Eutaw Street & 400-412 Druid Hill Av, Baltimore, MD
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS MD-1070
Significance: These seven building housed the headquarters of the "Afro-American," the largest and most influential Black newspaper chain in the country. The buildings were built before 1850 and passed through the hands of various private owners and religious institutions (including St. Mary's Seminary, the oldest Catholic theological seminary in the country) before its acquisition by the Afro-American Company from 1920 through 1943. The "Afro-American" newspaper was established as a regular paper in 1892 by John Henry Murphy and moved into one of the buildings on the site in 1911. When John Murphy died in 1922, the paper was run by his ten children and was then the largest Black newspaper plant in the country with 138 employees and a circulation of 14,000. In the 1930's, the newspaper used the largest printing press ever by a Black paper. By 1943, the company owned all seven structures and was running a circulation of 225,000 papers per week. The "Afro-American" became a leading voice for racial equality and economic advancement for Black America as well as the nation's pre-eminent outlet depicting Black life from the turn of the century, through the Harlem Renaissance to the Civil Rights Movement. The "Afro-American" continued its operations on the site until 1993. Since 1993, the great-grandchildren of founder John Murphy continue to run the paper from a new location.
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
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