Moss Kendrix

Moss Kendrix was one of the first African-Americans to become involved in public relations, and also became one of the leading practitioners. He went to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. While he was there, he was the editor of the Morehouse newspaper, The Maroon Tiger. He also co-founded the Phi Delta Delta Journalism Society there. He also helped create the National Negro Newspaper Week with some friends at Morehouse College right after graduating.

 

After completing his degree, Kendrix was drafted into the United States Army. While in the Army, Kendrix worked for the Treasury Department in the War Finance Office. He traveled around the country with African-American celebrities promoting war bonds, and also frequently appeared on radio shows for the CBS network.

 

In 1944, Kendrix became the director of public relations for the Republic of Liberia’s Centennial Celebration. This was what first inspired him to pursue his career as a public relations practitioner.

 

After his time there, Kendrix founded his own public relations firm called the Moss Kendrix Organization. The organization’s motto was, “What the Public Thinks Counts!” His clients included companies such as Coca-Cola, Carnation, National Dental Association, National Education Association, the Republic of Liberia, and the Ford Motor Company.

 

Perhaps his most notable accomplishment was his relationship with Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola was not targeting African-Americans as a consumer at the time, and Kendrix felt that he could change that. He went to the Coca-Cola offices in Atlanta and made a proposal of how the company could target the African-American population. Coca-Cola hired him and he became the first African-American to obtain a major corporate account. While at Coca-Cola, Kendrix worked with celebrities to promote Coca-Cola and also helped design advertisements for the product.

Kendrix also hosted a weekly radio program called “Profiles of Our Time” on WWDC. He helped create professional groups that promote minorities, and he created the National Association of Market Developers in 1953 to support minorities in the field of public relations. He was named President Emeritus of this association.

 

Moss Kendrix was a vital part in the creation of public relations and how we see it functioning today. He helped corporations see that by ignoring an entire group of potential consumers, they were missing opportunity dollars. Kendrix helped shape the practice of public relations and helped pave the way for other African-Americans to be involved in the practice and also be seen as a valid target audience.

Sources:

http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/11/10/let_them_drink_coke/

http://www.prmuseum.com/

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