Before Olivia Pope and Scandal: A Look at Real Black PR Trailblazers

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By Lon G. Walls/CEO/Founder Global Social Media News Service

The Global Social Media News Service, a news-gathering, reporting and distribution company, proudly presents the stories of an overlooked and underreported group of African American communication pioneers.

Decades before Scandal’s Olivia Pope confidently sashayed across America’s television screens; had unchecked access to a fictional White House; and “fixed” the screw-ups of her former Boss-In-Chief and others, there were real African American men and women who practiced public relations, often in less glamorous surroundings and with considerably less fanfare. Before there was the celluloid Olivia, there was a real Moss Kendrix, D. Parke Gibson, Ofield Dukes and Pat Tobin.

In late 2014 the spirit of these and many other Black public relations pioneers was rejuvenated, celebrated and honored during a national conference and career fair of the National Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS) in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Appropriately, the conference theme was “#PowerPR: Equip! Adapt! Conquer!”

Says the Society’s president, Richelle Payne, “We are the industry’s largest and longest-running gathering of PR pros of color. We are confronting a time of many changes and we are meeting these changes. The world of public relations is an exciting area in which to work and study and our organization will continue to meet and bring inspired people together in forums like this to ensure we remain on the cutting edge.”


Please read, enjoy and most importantly share the following links with others about the stories of “real” African American PR pioneers: 

Moss Kendrix

D. Parke Gibson

Ofield Dukes 

Pat Tobin

Finally, there are many, many more men and women nationwide poised to take their places in Black PR history: Terrie Williams and former NBPRS President Deborah Hyman (New York); Bruce Crawley and current NBPRS President Richelle Payne (Philadelphia); Lauri Fitz-PegadoGwen McKinney and Wendy Campbell (Washington, DC); Priscilla Clarke (Washington, DC); David Thompson (Washington, DC); Michelle Flowers-Welch and NBPRS President Emeritus Wynona Redmond (Chicago); Jim Hill (Oakland); Kim Hunter (Los Angeles); and, of course, the “real” Oliva Pope, Judy Smith (Washington/Los Angeles).

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