Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus: Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

By Marilyn Kern-Foxworth | Go to book overview
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PREFACE

The impetus for this project came in 1974 when I was doing research at Florida State University. While perusing index after index I stumbled across an article titled, "White Backlash to Negro Ads: Fact or Fantasy," by Carl Block ( 1967). The article made such an impression on me that most of what I have written from that period on has focused on this topic in one way or another. Hence, I have looked under dusty desks and searched every library accessible for information pertinent to blacks in advertising.

I have secured information from research centers, libraries, and antique shops and contacted over 400 organizations in an attempt to provide indepth coverage on this topic. My annual vacations were not complete until I had found some information of interest or a clue that provided a vital link to the areas under investigation. At every conference and every meeting, whether in a social or academic setting, I cornered someone who could address the topics that I was researching. To those individuals who were responsive to my requests I will be eternally grateful. I am indebted, as well, to those organizations and businesses who responded to my letters of inquiry.

This book examines the stereotypical portrayals of blacks in advertising from the turn of the century to the present in television, magazines, newspapers, and newspaper inserts. Prior to this book no single literary work has provided a comprehensive report on the history and status of blacks in advertising. Advertising has mushroomed into an over $146 billion industry, which equates to approximately $584 spent annually to advertise to each man, woman, and child in America. It is an institution wielding a lot of

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