Inez Kaiser one of my Mentors she took me under her wing and showed me the ropes. I had much respect and love for Mrs. Kaiser.
Joseph Varney Baker (1908-1993), who is believed to be the first black man to own a PR firm in the U.S. Here we offer the story of another pioneering figure in the history of communications. Inez Yeargan Kaiser was the first black woman to own a PR firm in the US. Like Baker, this PR pro deserves far more recognition inside and outside the industry.
The similarities between Kaiser and Baker are many. Both had journalism experience before entering PR. Each also belonged to PRSA and were active in their communities and politics. They also forged their impressive careers while struggling for basic rights that were denied blacks during much of their lives. Both Kaiser and Baker were involved in the civil rights movements and used their talents as communicators to get out messages about the movement.
This article is part of a series with The Museum of PR that celebrates PR NEWS’ 75th anniversary.]
A Difficult Start
Inez Kaiser was born on April 22, 1918, in Kansas City, Missouri. She came into the world only 53 years after the end of slavery, as the Great War was coming to its conclusion. It was a time when women had yet to win the right to vote, and Jim Crow ran rampant. Not exactly an auspicious time for an African-American child to begin life.
Standing in at a small, but powerful 5 feet as an adult, Kaiser would not allow circumstances to hold her back. She always lived her life by the words of author Napoleon Hill, who said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
In the late 1930s, when most African-Americans weren’t allowed to pursue higher education, Kaiser applied to Pittsburg State Teachers College of Kansas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Pittsburg, in 1941. Later she earned a master’s degree from Columbia University and an honorary doctorate from Lincoln University.
By Jared Meade