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Aunt Jemima Uncle Ben & Rastus


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... make[s] a meaningful and long overdue contribution to the study of advertising and black history. It is obvious that tremendous commitment and passion went into this work. -- Judy Foster Davis Marketing Professor Eastern Michigan University

Table of Contents

Dedication Foreword by Alex Haley Preface Introduction Slave Advertisements: A Mirror to the "Peculiar Institution" Memories of the Way We Were: Blacks in Early Advertising Myths, Lies, and Stereotypes: Black Advertising Symbols, Characters, and Models Aunt Jemima: The Most Battered Woman in America Rises to the Top Invisible Consumers: Gaining Equal Representation for Blacks in Advertising Separate But Definitely Not Equal: Frequency of Blacks in Advertising Blacks in Advertising: Critics Give Two Thumbs Up Epilogue: Colorizing Advertising: A 21st Century Challenge Appendix: African-American Museums and Resource Centers Selected Bibliography Index

About the Author

Marilyn Kern-Foxworth is associate professor in the Department of Journalism at Texas A&M University. In Spring 1994, she was the Garth C. Reeves Endowed Chair at Florida A&M University Department of Journalism, Media, and Graphic Arts. She is the first African-American to receive a PhD with a concentration in advertising. An accomplished, award-winning scholar, in 1993 she became the first person of color to receive the Kreighbaum Under-40 Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication for outstanding performance in teaching, research, and public service. In 1981, she received a Kizzy Award from the Black Women Hall of Fame Foundation and was cited as one of 12 outstanding African-American women in America, and in 1993, she was one of several African-American women honored nationwide by the consortium of Doctors, Ltd. for her accomplishments as mass media trailblazer and pioneer.


The portrayal of African Americans by the advertising industry has been at best stereotypic and two-dimensional and at worst demeaning or nonexistent. Kern-Foxworth (journalism, Texas A&M Univ.) chronicles African Americans' first appearances in advertisements in the United States (classified ads for the return of runaway slaves) to the modern celebrity endorsement spots of Michael Jordan and Bill Cosby. Most of her well-researched and -written book focuses on the early days of packaged goods when many of the stereotypically Jim Crow characters have their origins. The author does an excellent job of exploring the nuances of racial stereotyping. The only weaknesses are the occasional digressive cul-de-sac and the use of dated social science research to support the contemporary analysis. Recommended for history, black studies, and media studies collections.-Edward Buller, "Natural History," New York

"A well-researched and written book . . . The author does an excellent job of exploring the nuances of racial stereotyping . . . Recommended for history, black studies, and media studies collections." - Library Journal
"[A]n important book, rigorously researched and quite readable." - Everette E. Dennis, Executive Director The Freedom Forum Media
"Read Kern-Foxworth if you want to understand how the tricks of imagery that we all can see actually work." - Black Issues in Higher Education

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