John H. Johnson
- Category : Entrepreneur
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 4
American entrepreneur, the founder of Johnson Publishing, Ebony magazine, Jet magazine and builder of a multi-million-dollar cosmetics and insurance empire, all from a borrowed $500.
Born in a tin-roofed hovel near the levees, Johnny had the good family background of a mother determined to better the lot of her family. They moved to Chicago where she could give her son a high-school education and during his teen years, they lived on government relief.
Competitive and self-motivated, John studied self-help books. He took a first job in an insurance office where he was assigned to the company's newspaper. On 6/21/1941, he married Eunice Walker in Selma, AL. Childless for 15 years, they adopted a baby boy in June 1956 and a daughter two years later. Johnson was a proud and loving father but his son had sickle-cell anemia and died at 24.
In 1942 he borrowed $500 to start the pocket sized magazine, Negro Digest. It was a huge success, reaching a hungry market and leading to the glossy, high style Ebony in 1945. From the beginning, Johnson turned all his profit back into the business and everything he touched made a good return. In seven years, he made his first million.
Johnny Johnson is seen in news photos along with world leaders, the movers and shakers of the 20th century; a self-made man. In 1951 he founded "Jet" magazine, a newsweekly magazine. In his 1989 autobiography, "Succeeding Against the Odds, " he wrote, "Money is perhaps the greatest of all civil rights bills."
He died on August 8, 2005 of unspecified causes at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL He was 87 years old.