Journalist Joseph Vaudrey Baker: PR Pioneer

1934--Journalist Joseph Vaudrey Baker becomes the first African American to open a public relations firm. He was also the first to get PRSA accreditation and the first to get elected to head a PRSA chapter. He opened Baker Associates in the midst of the Great Depression. Baker flourished by showing national brands how to market to the new "Negro Market." His first account was the Pennsylvania Railroad.

He later went on to counsel U.S. Steel, Scott Paper and Gillette, among many other national brands. His papers, housed at Emory Univ*., include PR proposals: "American Tobacco and the Negro National Community," "Proctor and Gamble and the Negro Community," and "Minority Communities: A Handbook for Clients. In addition to PR, Baker is also considered a civil rights activist, publishing dozens of articles in 1960s analyzing the plight of African Americans in communities across the U.S.