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The Afro-American, an independent weekly newspaper and one of the longest running black newspapers in the country, was founded in 1892 by John H. Murphy, Sr. At first it was a local newspaper for Baltimore, but soon it expanded with Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Newark, and Richmond editions. At its peak, the newspaper published in 13 different cities. The Washington Afro-American began publication in 1932, operating from a series of offices on U Street, NW.

The Afro-American's motto was "A Champion of Civic Welfare and the Square Deal." The Afro stood for colored police officers, equal salaries for teachers regardless of race and gender, the organization of labor unions, and state and federal support of farmers. The Afro-American was an unabashed "race" paper — committed, as were other institutions, to full justice for African Americans. At the same time, the newspaper wrote for the masses of black readers, providing both news and entertainment.

From 1937 until the late 1970s, when the newspaper moved to 1612 14th Street, NW, its offices were at 1800 11th Street, NW. Architect Albert Cassell designed the conversion of that building, formerly residential, into offices.

The newspaper continues to be controlled by the Murphy family, now in its fourth generation. The Afro's current offices are at 1917 Benning Road, NE.

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