Diversity & Identity.

 In the 1940s, a time when racial segregation was an ugly reality in the United States, one company took the lead in breaking down barriers in the business world. The Pepsi-Cola Company became the first major American corporation to market to black communities, and it hired a team of black professionals to do the marketing. From 1947 to 1951, Pepsi had a "special markets" team -- at its height comprising 12 black men -- whose job was to sell the soft drink to what was then called "the Negro market." It was not until two decades later that the rest of American business caught up and showed the same commitment to selling to black customers and hiring black employees, according to an exhibit at the Queens Museum of Art, in New York.

Pepsi's groundbreaking move was made mainly for business reasons. America came out of World War II with a booming economy, but one that was remarkably segregated along racial lines. Black community leaders were urging major companies to advertise in black newspapers, stressing that the 14 million African Americans represented a gold mine of potential customers.