John H. Johnson
Johnson Publishing Co., Chicago, IL
Seeking his fortune in Chicago in the 1930s, Johnson was a writer and editor with struggling publications when he saw a need for publications that would project positive images for African-Americans and help them fulfill their potential. He founded Negro Digest on a shoestring in 1942, followed by Life-like Ebony in January 1945 and pocket-size Jet in '51. Johnson went on to acquire radio stations, a mail-order cosmetics business and an insurance company in building a business and media empire that for more than 50 years has provided advertisers with special marketing options. His company, he wrote, added "a permanent dash of blackness to the American media rainbow."