In honor of Black History Month, PRSA is spotlighting the role of African-American scholars and practitioners in advancing the public relations profession.

PRSA has invited prominent leaders in the public relations profession to offer their views on race and public relations and their ideas for achieving greater racial and ethnic diversity in the industry. Wilma Ruth King, associate professor of public relations at the Rochester Institute of Technology, began that series Wednesday with a PRSAY blog post titled, “Solidifying Public Relations and its Professionals Through Diversity.”

As she wrote, “Answers for many of today’s social, religious, political, technological and environmental concerns will come from a collaborative team of next generation practitioners; the more diverse their ethnicities, experiences and interests, the more creative and unique their ideas will be.”

Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA, the Society’s 2010 Chair and CEO, started the month by honoring D. Parke Gibson, the pioneering African-American PR professional, in a blog post at PRSAY.

In 1990, PRSA established an award in his name: the D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award. It is PRSA’s highest individual honor presented to a public relations professional who has contributed to increased awareness of public relations within multicultural communities and participated in promoting issues that meet the needs of these diverse communities.

“The 84-year tradition begun by historian Carter G. Woodson has witnessed historic milestones in the journey of African-Americans to have their voices heard and unique achievements recognized and celebrated,” said McCormick. “During February, PRSA is honoring their unique contributions to the public relations professional with the personal thoughts and reflections of prominent African-American members of the PRSA community.”

Look for more thought leadership on diversity throughout Black History Month. Meanwhile, PRSA’s National Diversity Committee has assembled a variety of resources dedicated to furthering the cause of diversity within the public relations profession:

PRSA also has a number of tools available to assist our Chapters in furthering the cause of diversity in their local areas:

If you are interested in helping PRSA promote diversity in the public relations profession by volunteering to serve on our National Diversity Committee, send an e-mail to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *