Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

September 17, 1938

On September 17, 1938, the Pittsburgh Courier ran an advertisement for Black and White Ointment and Skin Soap, which featured an illustrated profile of Phillis Wheatley. The profile began by noting how Wheatley came to America: “Stolen from her native Africa, she made the terrible ‘Middle Passage’ and was dumped, a frightened child, on the dock at Boston. Here, she was bought by the gentle Mrs. Susannah Wheatley, who educated and brought her up like her own child.” Despite referring to a slaveowner as “gentle,” the advertisement is an interesting example of black history being used to market cosmetics. The ad was part of an “Against All Odds” series that also featured Sojourner Truth and Crispus Attucks

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