Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Department of History

First Advisor

Dr. Janice Sumler-Edmond


This study examined the history and advancement of African-Americans in advertising from 1895 to 1995 by analyzing images and portrayals of African-Americans in the print and broadcasting media. In addition, the study traced the growth of the African-American consumer market which was created largely by Black businesses. Pertinent information regarding the history and progress of African-Americans in advertising was obtained through interviews conducted by the author with media and advertising industry professionals from regional and national corporations. The conclusions of this study show that in today's contemporary society the interaction and inclusion of African-Americans in the advertising industry reveal positive and progressive signs. However, forces such as racism, discrimination, and segregation slowed the progress of Black Americans in advertising for decades. Nonetheless, America has witnessed progress from the largely negative advertising images of Aunt Jemima and Sambo to a photograph of sports hero Michael Jordan on a Wheaties cereal box.