Black History Month

Coca-Cola Salesman's Career in Mississippi Started During Civil Rights Movement

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Taylor Dillard, like most of the people in the segregated South during the Civil Rights era, just wanted to be treated fairly. And that meant having the opportunity to work for a living. “There wasn’t much work for black people,” Dillard, 67, recalls. “We did the hard stuff, like digging ditches.” In Dillard’s small town of Greenwood, Miss., opportunities were so few and far between, and voter suppression so prevalent, that the Greenwood Movement

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Driving Home the Message of Atlanta's Civil Rights Legacy

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If you join Tom Houck on his Atlanta Civil Rights Tour bus, he’s quick to tell you that he was once a driver for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s family, but also a “helluva organizer” who went to jail about 20 times during the Civil Rights Movement. More than a decade before his prison stints for his efforts with voter registration and school desegregation, and long before giving civil rights tours in Atlanta, Houck was flouting social norms as a

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Meet Shirley Hasley: The Accidental Coke Model Who Helped Make History

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By the time Shirley Hasley became an advertising pioneer, she'd already made history in her day job. In 1965, Hasley was hired as the first African-American teacher in Mill Valley, Calif., a predominately white and affluent suburb of San Francisco. A recent graduate of San Francisco State, what should have been an exciting time for a young professional was instead fraught with the regressive racial politics of the day. “It was not a welcome time

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Sitting In and Standing Up: Unsung Heroes of Civil Rights Movement Reflect on Soda Fountain Protests

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In July 1958, a light-skinned black woman named Carol Parks Hahn sat down at the counter of Dockum Drug Store in Wichita, Kansas. The waitress served her a Coca-Cola, only to withdraw when customers of darker complexion arrived and the server realized Parks Hahn wasn't white. But Parks Hahn and her companions were at the soda fountain for more than a Coke. They were there to protest racial discrimination. Thus began the little-known, yet first, successful

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Honoring a Native Son: Coca-Cola Exhibit, Panel Pay Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and His Nobel Peace Prize

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ATLANTA – The Coca-Cola Company welcomed members of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s inner circle to its global headquarters this week for a conversation about the civil rights leader’s enduring legacy and the role Coca-Cola played in an Atlanta dinner honoring his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. Veteran Atlanta journalist Maria Saporta moderated the panel, which included Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center and Dr. King’s youngest daughter; Xernona

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‘Don’t Get Mad, Get Smarter:’ Ambassador Andrew Young Shares Insights With Coke Employees

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With equal parts grace and gravitas, Andrew Young had a crowd of Coca-Cola associates rapt as he talked about his lifelong connection to the brand. “It was part of my life,” he said. “I follow Coca-Cola. I’ve been around the world, and I don’t think I’ve been any place yet, in 152 countries, where if I asked for a Coca-Cola that I couldn’t get one… and the company has been doing something right for a long time.” The civil rights pioneer, congressman,

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Meet Troy Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida

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Coca-Cola Beverages Florida began operations less than one year ago, when it acquired the Central Florida territory from The Coca-Cola Company, and the Tampa-based company continues to grow. The company – the only African-American owned Coca-Cola bottler – has signed letters-of-intent to acquire more territory the company, most recently in December. We talked to Troy Taylor, the company’s chairman and CEO, about his background and expanding role

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Photographer Ernest Withers Had an Eye on History, Coca-Cola

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For more than 60 years, photographer Ernest Withers captured the African-American experience with his camera, taking perfectly composed black and white shots that ranged from the simple pleasures of everyday to life to the titanic efforts of the Civil Rights movement. Withers crossed paths with icons of the era and covered landmark events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott. His work has been archived by the Library of Congress and scheduled for inclusion

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The Women of Coca-Cola: Atlanta Tribune Profiles Female African-American Execs

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The February 2016 Issue of Atlanta Tribune magazine highlights 17 of Coca-Cola’s African-American female vice presidents. “It’s not often that you find a collective of richly tenured African-American women executives holding senior posts in chorus – all under the banner of one corporation," the magazine writes. "It is, in a word, inspiring. But, what’s more stirring are the stories they share – lessons, triumphs and the intrinsic inclination

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The Night Atlanta Truly Became the City Too Busy to Hate

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When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the honor was a tremendous source of pride for the black community in King’s hometown of Atlanta. The majority of the city’s whites, however, were unimpressed. “They thought it was just one more step in this process that was meant to deprive them of the fruits of white supremacy and Jim Crow law that they'd enjoyed for more than half a century,” recalls Frederick Allen, author

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