Such records were labeled "race records" in reference to their marketing to African Americans, but white Americans gradually began to purchase such records as well. The term first appeared in an advertisement in a 1922 issue of the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper.
Billboard magazine published "Race Records" charts between 1945 and 1949, initially covering juke box plays and from 1948 also covering sales. These were revised versions of the "Harlem Hit Parade" chart which it had introduced in 1942. In June 1949, at the suggestion of Billboard journalist Jerry Wexler, the magazine renamed its chart again to "Rhythm & Blues Records". Wexler wrote : "Race" was a common term then, a self-referral used by blacks...On the other hand, "Race Records" didn't sit well...I came up with a handle I thought suited the music well - 'rhythm and blues'... a label more appropriate to more enlightened times."
Although in hindsight the term "race record" may seem to be a derogatory one, in the early 20th century the African American press routinely used the term "the Race" to refer to African Americans as a whole, and used the terms "race man" or "race woman" to refer to African American individuals who showed pride and support for his or her people and culture.
Andrew Ball of Pompton Plains snapping the finish-line tape after breaking men's Paramus Park 5K race record by almost 12 seconds.
Oct 14, 1991; The Record (Bergen County, NJ) 10-14-1991 Andrew Ball of Pompton Plains snapping the finish-line tape after breaking men'sParamus...