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from Jason P. Chambers

Advertising Revolutionary

Tom Burrell transformed the image of African Americans in advertising.

Over a forty-year career, Chicagoan Tom Burrell changed the face of advertising and revolutionized the industry’s approach to African Americans as human beings and consumers. In this authorized biography, Jason P. Chambers offers a compelling and “soulful” portrait of the groundbreaking creator and entrepreneur.

Jason P. Chambers, Ph.D.

About Jason

As a writer and historian, Jason is the author of two books and co-editor of a third. His books examine the history and contributions of African Americans in the the advertising industry.

Jason is also a Professor in the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He currently teaches courses on diversity in advertising, advertising history, classic advertising campaigns.

Quoted in

Logo for USA Today
"OMG! Jason’s book educated me about Tom and his agency on things that I didn’t even know, and I worked there. . . Half of everything I learned about advertising, I learned from my time working at Burrell, and Jason’s book brought it all back to life in full, living, soulful color!"
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Jimmy Smith
Chairman, CEO, and CCO of Amusement Park Entertainment
"Jason P. Chambers’s thoughtful and thorough biography of Tom Burrell makes an important contribution to African American business history."
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Robert E. Weems Jr.
Author of The Merchant Prince of Black Chicago:

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Explore Jason's Books


Madison Avenue and the Color Line

Until now, most works on the history of African Americans in advertising have focused on the depiction of blacks in advertisements. As the first comprehensive examination of African American participation in the industry, Madison Avenue and the Color Line breaks new ground by examining the history of black advertising employees and agency owners.

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"Rarely do scholars look beyond consumer-directed messages to explore the battlegrounds from which they emanate. Jason Chambers succeeds at this splendidly in analyzing African Americans' struggles with the advertising industry, both inside and outside of it, through the twentieth century."
Journal of American History
Cover of Building the Black Metropolis


Building the Black Metropolis

From Jean Baptiste Point DuSable to Oprah Winfrey, black entrepreneurship has helped define Chicago. Robert E. Weems Jr. and Jason P. Chambers curate a collection of essays that place the city as the center of the black business world in the United States

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"A work that examines history in its own skin. At a time when scholarship is praising immigrant entrepreneurship in America, it is great to see a book that says, 'Black America has been there, done that, and got the T-Shirt.' A work that should bind the past with the future because it recreates a model of business success that holds the key to the future. An American Story well done"
John Sibley Butler
Author of Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans

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