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Karen Roberts                        
Special Projects Coordinator

Media Contact
Tiffany Brown
Communications Associate
Office of University Communications

Washington Post's Assistant Managing Editor Kevin Merida Interviews Advertising Legend Tom Burrell on his new book, Brainwashed at Howard University's Blackburn Center

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 2, 2010 – The Howard University School of Communications and Dean Jannette Dates welcome Washington Post’s Kevin Merida and Tom Burrell, a 45-year veteran of the advertising industry and an inductee of the Advertising Hall of Fame. Burrell will be interviewed by Merida and sign copies of his groundbreaking new book, BRAINWASHED: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority on September 16, 2010, 1:30 p.m. at the Howard University Blackburn Center.  This event is in celebration of the School of Communications 40th anniversary and is open to the public.

“Tom Burrell is a legend in the field of communications. He broke many barriers in the field of advertising for minorities,” says Dean Jannette Dates. “We are delighted to have him here to celebrate our 40th anniversary.”

Burrell calls the marketing of the myth of black inferiority to justify slavery within a democracy “one of the greatest propaganda campaigns of all time.” In the book, he details how the torturous enslavement and indoctrination of a people resulted in a powerful, all-pervasive, mass-media driven brainwashing that impacts African-American lives even today. Burrell will be interviewed by Kevin Merida, Washington Post assistant managing editor of National News.

Tom Burrell
Tom Burrell

BRAINWASHEDexamines how the very fabric of African-American life has been undermined by brainwashing, from family, finances and emotional concerns to entertainment, health and education. In each chapter, Burrell presents the contemporary signs of an issue that perpetuates black inferiority and examines the historical roots and offers positive solutions.

Constance Cannon Frazier, Chief Operating Officer of American Advertising Federation and JHJSOC alumni, will introduce Burrell during the presentation and book-signing event.

Tom Burrell is credited with revolutionizing the image of African-Americans in television and changing the face of American advertising. Dean Dates adds, “Tom Burrell reminds us that media images matter, and illustrates just how persuasive these images can be.”

This is the first in a series of signature events for the 40th anniversary of the School of Communications. Each month, throughout the 2010-11 academic school year there will be an opportunity to hear from industry leaders and media entrepreneurs in the various arenas of communications.

About The Author
Tom Burrell is a marketing communications pioneer, founder and former CEO of Burrell Communications, and Advertising Hall of Fame inductee. His award-wining work promoted positive and realistic images of blacks and acknowledged the purchasing power of the African American community. In 2007, Burrell founded The Resolution Project,, a nonprofit organization that promotes intra-racial dialogue and community-based new media “stop the brainwash” campaigns.

About the John H. Johnson School of Communications
The Howard University John H. Johnson School of Communications has produced many outstanding professionals in communications including: Janice McKenzie-Crayton, President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta, Keisha N. Brown, senior vice president & general manager, LAGRANT Foundation, Depelsha McGruder-Thomas, senior vice president, Business Operations & Strategy, MTV Networks, Genelle Niblack, vice president, Clear Channel Radio Sales, Constance Cannon Frazier, Chief Operating Officer, American Advertising Federation (AAF), Fredricka Whitfield, CNN news anchor, Vicki Mabrey, ABC Nightline, Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist  formerly at The New York Times; and Lesli Foster, news anchor at WUSA, Channel  9.  For more information on JHJSOC, call 202-806-7690, or visit the website at

About Howard University
Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 12 schools and colleges.Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, a Truman Scholar, a Marshall Scholar, 19 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Web site at


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