As the second decade of the 20th century progressed, so did John H. Murphy Sr. and George Bragg in leading the AFRO American Ledger into becoming a recognized national entity. They sought to produce an instrument that educated and informed its readership about the ills of disenfranchisement and segregation.
Towards the end of the second decade of the 20th century, however, the newspaper industry would turn the way of sensationalist stories with an emphasis on crime, sex and gossip. In 1915, George Bragg left the AFRO American Ledger for a rival newspaper. Two years later, the AFRO adopted the journalistic norm of producing sensationalist content but stayed true to fighting the cause of social justice.
This editorial transformation was shepherded by new editorial management, Carl J. Murphy. Carl James Greenbury Murphy was born January 17, 1889 in Baltimore, eight years before his father, John H. Murphy would take the helm of the Afro-American Newspaper. Carl would eventually transplant his life from Washington to Baltimore and become the managing editor. He did well in this position and when a few years later, in 1922, his brother Daniel died and soon after John Sr. met his demise, Carl took over.
Carl was aided in AFRO management by his brother John H. Murphy Jr. supervising the mechanical department and D. Arnett Murphy who ran the circulation and advertising departments. History-makers like W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, Marcus Garvey, A. Philip Randolph, Carter G. Woodson among many others received comprehensive reporting or in some instance, a vessel to spread their message of self-improvement, community sustainability and education to the Black community.
The AFRO would give prominent placement to the poems and essays of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay. Hughes would be feted as an AFRO columnist and resident poet for a number of years.
Carl utilized African-American patriotism during times of war to send over six wartime correspondents (including his own daughter) overseas to report on World War II. This group of valiant individuals included reporters Ollie Stewart, Vincent Tubbs, Max Johnson, Art Carter, Herbert Frisby and Elizabeth Murphy Phillips.
Carl expanded the AFRO beyond Baltimore. The Philadelphia AFRO was founded in 1931, with the Washington AFRO soon after in 1934. The AFRO-American Newspaper Company would take over the reins of the fledging Richmond Planet in 1938 and christen it, The Richmond AFRO-American.
There would be even further development for the AFRO as a force in the Black community as African Americans began to stand up, organize and begin to fight for equality in every facet of American life.