African American Markets

WANN DJ Hoppy Adams broadcasting from a store, 1953

WANN DJ Hoppy Adams broadcasting from a store, 1953

WANN, a radio station in Annapolis, Maryland, cultivated black consumers and demonstrated their buying power to businesses. African Americans challenged segregation by demanding better jobs and equal access to goods and services.

WANN remote broadcasting box, late 1950s

WANN deejays broadcast from remote locations like stores and the beach, connecting their audiences to retailers and music promoters alike.

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RCA Globe Trotter 8 radio, about 1956

Radios, made smaller and more portable by the invention of transistors, allowed young consumers to take their music with them.

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Pith helmet, 1950s–1960s

Deejay name tag, 1950s–1960s

Deejay name tag, 1950s–1960s

Deejay name tag, 1950s–1960s

Deejay name tag, 1950s–1960s

Deejay name tag, 1950s–1960s

Deejay name tag, 1950s–1960s

WANN banner, 1950s–1960s

Hit Records

WANN promoted African American recording artists by playing their records and turning songs into hits.

Stax gold record, 1973–1974

Stax Records, a rival to Motown, presented this commemorative gold record to deejays at WANN for helping the company sell over a million copies.

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Stevie Wonder, “Looking Back”

Supremes, "Stop! In the Name of Love”

Supremes, “You Can’t Hurry Love”

Four Tops, “Without the One Your Love"

Four Tops, “If I Were a Carpenter”

Pepsi and Wrigley’s advertised to youthful black consumers in this period.

Brochure, “How do you sell to urban negro consumers?” about 1960

Brochure, “How do you sell to urban negro consumers?” about 1960

Screenshot of the Consumer Era Table interactiveWould you like to learn more about these objects and other related stories from the Consumer Era? Click on the screenshot above to open an interactive display in a new window.