Public Relations Founding Fathers

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Moss Kendrix

The first African-American to acquire a major corporate marketing account and where does he find it? Coca-Cola. Moss Kendrix was a huge influence for minorities in the advertising and public relations field.

While attending college at Morehouse in Atlanta, Georgia, Kendrix became the editor of the schools' newspaper The Maroon Tiger. He also co-founded an African-American journalism society, the Phi Delta Delta Journalism Society. Shortly after graduating he created National Negro Newspaper Week and then went to work to gain experience. In 1941 he was drafted and served for the Treasury Department in the War and Finance Office, promoting war bonds and talking on CBS radio shows.

In 1944 he became the Republic of Liberia's Centennial Celebration director of public relations. Later that year he established his own public relations firm, The Moss Kendrix Organization based out of Washington, D.C.. It was devoted to target African-American consumers. The firm acquired clients such as the Coca-Cola Company, Carnation, the National Dental Association, the National Educational Association and Ford Motor Company.

Kendrix informed his corporate clients about the vast purchasing power of the African-American communities and consumers. He also designed many advertisements and public relations campaigns that encouraged African-American exposure to products and services. He also designed promotional ads and worked with celebrities from sports and entertainment.

In 1953, Kendrix created The National Association of Market Developers at Tennessee State University, which acted as a support group for minorities in the field of public relations. Kendrix continued to work for Coca-Cola into the 1970's.

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