CHICAGO – In recognition of John H. Johnson’s remarkable achievements and tremendous contribution to the African American community across the country, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed John H. Johnson Day in Illinois. Publisher John H. Johnson passed away on August 8, 2005 at the age of 87.
“Coming from the humblest of backgrounds, and going on to achieve remarkable success, John H. Johnson is a prime example of how one can truly accomplish anything if they work hard and remain committed,” said the governor. “What he was able to accomplish serves as an inspiration to African Americans, but his legacy is a gift to the world, bringing the history, culture and everyday life of African Americans to people everywhere.”
John H. Johnson was the founder, publisher and chairman of Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., which includes such publications and products as EBONY and JET magazines, Fashion Fair Cosmetics and EBONY Fashion Fair. He began his incredible career with an initial investment of $500. From there, he went on to become the first nationally recognized African-American businessperson, and is known by many as the founder of the African-American consumer market.
Because of his outstanding dedication and tremendous entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Johnson received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Magazine Publisher’s Association Publisher of the Year Award, and the Advertising Hall of Fame Award. In 2003, Howard University in Washington, D.C. established the John H. Johnson School of Communications in his honor.
“John H. Johnson’s passing creates a void in this City and State that will never be filled,” concluded the governor in his proclamation. “Illinois is humbled to join his wife, Eunice W. Johnson, his daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, and all of the countless people who have known and loved him over the years, in mourning this great loss. I encourage all citizens to join in celebrating the life of this highly accomplished and influential man.”