Marcus Garvey, one of the great names in the Pan-Africanism movement and publisher of the Negro World, along with Afro-American publisher emeritus Francis L. Murphy II have been enshrined into the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Gallery of Distinguished Publishers during Black Press Week in Washington, D.C.
Garvey was a noted figure in the publishing world where for five-cents, readers of his newspaper received a front-page editorial written by him, along with poetry and articles of international interest to people of African ancestry.
Murphy, a graduate of Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, who received her bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and degrees from Coppin State College and Johns Hopkins University, believed the Afro-American belonged to the community. As its publisher, every year she would invite readers to write their family histories and send them in along with historical pictures.
“My mother wrote a column called ‘If you asked me,’ so I believe if my mother was here today she would say, ‘if you asked me, it’s certainly a privilege to be honored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association,’” said the Rev. Dr. Toni Draper, Murphy’s daughter, who accepted the enshrinement on her late mother’s behalf.
“I think she’d say that ‘I’m grateful that I’m chosen for this honor and even more grateful that I’m chosen on this platform with the honorable Marcus Garvey,” Draper said.
Garvey’s son, Dr. Julius Garvey, accepted the honor on behalf of the late civil rights leader.
“My dad developed his oratorical skills in large part through his work in newspapers, other publications and speeches,” Garvey said. “He used the dictionary and would read through it learning new words every day and, at one point, his words reached between 6 and 11 million people around the world,” he said.
The Black Press Archives was founded in 1973, as a joint project of Howard University and the NNPA, and established at the University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
According to the Houston Forward Times, the idea of establishing a Black Press Archives and Gallery of Distinguished Newspaper Publishers was that of William O. Walker, editor-publisher of the Cleveland Call and Post, who first articulated the need for an academic institution that would provide a setting in which historical records related to the Black Press, as well as the newspapers themselves, could be collected, preserved and made available to scholars, students, and the public.
In March 1977, during the sesquicentennial celebration of the founding of Freedom’s Journal, the first African-American newspaper, the Black Press Archives, and Gallery of Distinguished Newspaper Publishers were dedicated in ceremonies at Howard University.
Born in 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, Garvey counted as one of 11 children – only Marcus and one of his siblings survived into adulthood.
Garvey received an education in London that would likely have not been available to him in the Americas because of the color of his skin.
Family and friends and AFRO employees were on hand to witness Murphy’s enshrinement.
Born in 1922, Murphy enjoyed two professions for most of her life – working at the AFRO, which was founded by her grandfather, John H. Murphy Sr., in 1892 and teaching.
Both inductees were further honored with video tributes and salutes from NNPA Foundation Chair Amelia Ashley-Ward; NNPA Association Chair Dorothy R. Leavell and NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.