From the Museum of Public Relations: Inez Kaiser was a Black PR pioneer and coined the term ‘soul food’

A glimpse into PR’s past.

Shared courtesy of the Museum of PR

This artifact is shared in partnership with the Museum of Public Relations.

In 1968, the rebranding of a book called “Southern Cookery” turned a flop into a success and a culinary staple in many homes.

The term “soul food” took off throughout the U.S., and the book’s author and PR pioneer Inez Kaiser is credited as the inventor of the term. The book’s success took it to the “Today Show,” where Kaiser showed Barbara Walters how to cook greens and grits.

In a press release announcing the third release of the sold-out book, Kaiser describes the book as:

“Simply written recipes using common everyday foods that can be combined to make tasty dishes that truly satisfy the soul.”


“Homemakers will find that this cookbook is what is needed in this economy. Low-cost ingredients are used to make up the tastiest dishes imaginable. The recipes are simply written and out in such a way that even youngsters and bachelors can follow them.”



Inez Kaiser was born in Kansas City in 1918, during the Jim Crow Era. Before starting her PR career, she was an internationally known home economist who taught home economics for a number of years. In 1954, during a time when corporations started to increase their efforts to reach African-American consumers, she was the first Black woman to open her own PR firm.  It wasn’t long before Inez Kaiser & Associates had clients like 7UP, Sterling Drug, Burger King, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Besides being an author and public relations professional, she was an active voice throughout the Civil Rights Movement as she used her communications skills to spread vital messages. She actively participated in many organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People .

Thanks to her achievements, Kaiser was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Inez Kaiser died in 2016, and some of her memorabilia is today housed by the Museum of Public Relations, including a copy of her famous book “Soul Food Cookery,” related press releases and other important documents throughout her career.


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