Tuesday, February 5, 2008 | 12:28am
Black History’s Businessman of the Day – John H. Johnson
Founder of Ebony Magazine
John H. Johnson was born in Arkansas City, Arkansas before moving to Chicago, Illinois with his family. He briefly attended both University of Chicago and Northwestern University before beginning a magazine called The Negro Digest in 1942. The Negro Digest was the prototype for the current day Ebony Magazine. Johnson used unconventional marketing techniques to help launch his first magazines. In order to pique storeowner’s interest and prompt them to order a shipment of the magazine, he would ask his friends to go to the stores and ask for Ebony Magazine.
Founded in 1942, Johnson’s firm is the largest African American owned publishing company. Johnson Publishing Company also publishes Black Star, Black World and Ebony Jr. magazines. Johnson served on the Board of Directors of Dillard’s Inc., and he has served on the boards of First Commercial Bank, Little Rock; Dial Corporation; Zenith Radio Corporation; and Chrysler Corporation.
Johnson was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. Johnson died of heart failure on August 8, 2005 at the age of 87 in Chicago. He is survived by his widow, Eunice, and his daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, who now runs the Johnson Publishing empire. [via wikipedia]
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