John Johnson – Business Bio Summary

July 4, 2018 143 views

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John Johnson – Short Biography

John Johnson built a publishing company, the Johnson Publishing Company, highlighting his own African American roots.

John Johnson was able to live the American dream, attaining success where nobody thought he would.

He was the grandson of slaves, born in Arkansas. He was fatherless at an early age and his mother had to struggle to make ends meet before she could move her family to Chicago.

Once in Chicago, Johnson went to school and augmented his formal education by reading self-improvement books when he got home. He became editor of the in-house magazine of the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company after he graduated college. Because of his own hard work and diligence, he was able to start his own company, the Johnson Publishing Company.

His mother gave him a loan and he launched Negro Digest. The publication’s popularity quickly soared. This business leader was responsible for the creation of the largest publishing company owned by an African American at the time. Johnson’s company published the magazine Ebony, which featured African American interests and gained millions of readers.

Aside from magazines, Johnson Publishing Company also has a book division. In 1951, he created another magazine, a weekly publication called Jet, which featured sports, business, and entertainment as it pertained to an African American audience.

Johnson chose to diversify his company’s offerings through its ownership of Fashion Fair Cosmetics that, once again, catered to the African American market by providing a range of skincare and beauty products particularly suited to African American complexion.

Over the years, Johnson has been given numerous awards in recognition of his contribution not just to the publishing industry, but to the African American community in the United States as well.

Through his products, he was able to cater to an often-ignored segment of the American population that grappled with their own issues. By celebrating his African American roots and by being sensitive to the needs of his people, Johnson successfully created a company that was admired for its groundbreaking work.

The John H. Johnson Quick Bio

Full name: John Johnson

Birthdate: January 19, 1918

Birthplace: Arkansas City, Arkansas

Company: Johnson Publishing Company

Industry: Publishing Print Media

Key success traits: loyalty to his roots, pioneering spirit


Johnson has accompanied many US presidents on goodwill tours of African nations and was even named a special ambassador several times.