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The Merchant Prince of Black ChicagoAnthony Overton and the Building of a Financial Empire$
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Robert E. Weems

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043062

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043062.001.0001

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The Half-Century Magazine

The Half-Century Magazine


(p.62) 3. The Half-Century Magazine
The Merchant Prince of Black Chicago

Robert E. Weems Jr.

University of Illinois Press

In 1916, Anthony Overton established the Half-Century Magazine as a venue to more effectively market Overton Hygienic Manufacturing Company products. To deflect charges of shameless self-promotion, Overton put forward a female employee as the owner, editor, and public face of this women-oriented periodical. Overton’s skullduggery included submitting anonymous editorials and publishing articles under a pseudonym (McAdoo Baker) to convey his beliefs regarding business enterprise, racial identity, and personal conduct. Above and beyond Overton’s deception, the Half-Century created a commercial environment where black female readers were not exposed to racially insulting personal care products ads. This advertising policy, along with Half-Century’s sponsorship of a contest extolling the beauty of African American women, enhanced Overton-Hygienic’s position in the marketplace.

Keywords:   Anthony Overton, Half-Century Magazine, Overton Hygienic Manufacturing Company, McAdoo Baker, advertising policy, African American women, marketplace, women workers

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