African Americans and Advertising

African Americans have been represented in advertising since its inception in the mid-19th century. Most of the visual images (until World War II) featured African Americans as stereotypes and caricatures, created by white advertising agencies for white consumers as a way to reassure whites in the midst of intense political and social change. In the late 20th century, although some of these representations relied on earlier stereotypes, we do see a much wider representation of African Americans and an increase in crossracial ads.


Marya McQuirter, Digital Curator