- The tobacco industry has been especially adept at exploiting racial identity in defining a profitable market among ethnic minorities. R. J. Reynolds sponsored Hispanic street fairs in Los Angeles, and Brown and Williamson footed the bill for numerous Spanish and jazz musicals in Miami and in Hispanic communities elsewhere. Brown and Williamson presented “Kool Achiever” awards (named for Kool cigarettes) to people who wanted to improve the “quality of life in inner-city communities.”
- The tobacco company even enlisted the National Urban League, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and the NAACP in the nominating process. During “Black History Month” (February), R. J. Reynolds featured discount coupons in African-American magazines for various brands of cigarettes, complete with pictures of famous African-American scientists such as George Washington Carver.
Learn more about Smoking and Minorities in our exhibition…