The Life and Legacy of Moss Kendrix

The Coca-Cola Years

The Coca-Cola Proposal

The National Association of Market Developers

SPECIAL REPORT: The Changing Face of the Urban Markets

The African-American Image Abroad: Golly, It's Good!

The African-American Image in Advertising

The Advertiser's Holy Trinity: Aunt Jemima, Rastus, and Uncle Ben

A Distorted Reflection: African-Americans and Beauty Products

The Times They Are A-Changing 1960 - 1990

The Advertising Future for African-Americans

What the Public Thinks, Counts

The Alexandria Black History Museum

PR website


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The Coca-Cola Years

As ubiquitous as Coca-Cola is in today's culture, it has not always been a very popular drink for African-Americans. In African-American communities throughout the south during the 1920s and 1930s, Nehi's grape- and orange-flavored beverages were by far the favored product. Nehi recognized the value of the minority rnarket, while the Coca-Cola company did not. Nehi products were well stocked in the smaller African-American markets and gained a product recognition that Coca-Cola did not enjoy.

Moss Kendrix recognized this gap, and decided to act on the knowledge. In the early 1950s he went to the company offices of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia, where he made a pitch and delivered a proposal on how to market to the African-American community. He was hired by Coca-Cola and worked for them on retainer. By taking this bold action, Moss Kendrix became the first African-American to acquire a major corporate account. Moss Kendrix continued to work for the company until the early 1970s.

While Moss Kendrix worked for Coca-Cola, he became an integral part of the product promotion efforts, and he had an opportunity to work with celebrities from the sports and entertainment industries. He also had the opportunity to design promotional ads for the beverage. The pictures on this panel showcase some of the celebrities who worked with Coca-Cola, the publicity shots for the product staged by Kendrix, and human interest photographs used by Coca-Cola to promote their product.