Oral history interview with Howard H. Murphy, 1972


Murphy, Howard H (Interviewee)
La Brie, Henry G (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Howard H. Murphy, 1972
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Howard H. Murphy : oral history, 1972; Oral history of Howard H. Murphy, 1972
In this interview with Henry G. La Brie III, Howard Murphy discusses the family's businesses, his family's accomplishments and contributions to the Baltimore, Maryland and national communities. Murphy also discusses the significance of black caterers in Baltimore. He provides his views on the black press and the business of the Afro-American. Murphy discusses changes in the black press; printing me thods, marketing and sales; competition with mainstream print media; ownership of the papers and its relation to credibility, relevance and legitimacy; exclusion, from mainstream print media; material that interests black newspaper consumers; and the role of the black press as a training ground for interns. He also discusses why the black press will not fade away like the foreign newspapers of the early twentieth century did. Murphy recounts the history of the Afro-American, including the details of his grandfather's career prior to founding the Afro-American, its choice of locations for printing and distribution, advertising and marketing strategies in addition to the challenges of being a family owned and run business. Murphy shares his insight on the importance of editorials in the life of a newspaper, especially during the early twentieth century in reporting on communists and America's relationship with Russia. Murphy discusses the weekly printing schedule, the decision to end production in Philadelphia while maintaining production in Baltimore, Richmond, Newark, and Washington D.C. Murphy also discusses the integrated hiring strategy and the impact of the pay scale on the Afro-American's daily operation.
Collection Name
Black Journalists oral history collection
Journalists; African American press; African American journalists; Newspaper publishing--Economic aspects--United States; African Americans--Civil rights; Journalism--Social aspects; Family-owned business enterprises; Advertising--Newspapers; United States Race relations; Murphy, Howard H; Afro-American (Baltimore, Md. : National ed.)
oral histories
Physical Description
sound files : digital preservation master, WAV files (96kHz, 24 bit); 30 pages
Note (Biographical)
Howard Murphy (1900-1979) was one of seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. George Murphy, and a grandson of the founder of the Afro-American, John Henry Murphy, Sr. In 1924, Howard Murphy completed Burnett Business College in Boston where he studied acc ounting. After completing college, Murphy briefly worked in his maternal grandfather's catering business, before ultimately arriving in the Afro-American’s accounting department. He subsequently became comptroller and served the Afro-American for more than 47 years. Murphy was actively involved in civic and social service organizations. He served a leader or member in organization including: as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Social Services (Department of Social Services) for more than 21 years; as a member of the Americans for Democratic Action (25 years); as President of Provident Hospital's Trustee Board; as a board member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and as treasurer of National Newspaper Publishers Association.
Interviewed by Henry G. La Brie III on June 23, 1972.
Note (Provenance)
Henry G. La Brie III Gift, 1975
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
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Catalog Record
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
Persistent URL
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Available digital content for this interview.