Over the course of his more than 40 years in advertising, Tom Burrell built a successful career in an industry that others had actively discouraged him from even entering. Along with his individual accolades, he also developed an agency, fueled by a concept he called “positive realism”, that became known for the Burrell brand of advertising. It was advertising that featured African Americans in positive and uplifting roles and situations that also helped sell the products of companies like McDonalds and Coca-Cola for whom the ads were created. Further, Burrell’s depiction of African Americans was a key facet in the change in the African American image depicted in media during the late 20th century. In this presentation Dr. Jason P. Chambers will examine the development of the Burrell Brand and Tom Burrell’s role in helping to develop Chicago as the leading city for African American-owned advertising agencies.