Ebony Co-Founder Eunice Johnson Memorial
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Eunice Johnson

Sixty-five years after the inception of the world’s largest black-owned publishing empire, Eunice Johnson, co-founder of Johnson Publishing Co., died Jan. 3 at the age of 93.

Johnson, an astute businesswoman and fashion maven, started Johnson Publishing Co. (No. 15 on the be industrial/service companies list with $328 million in revenues) with her husband, John H. Johnson, in 1942 using a $ 500 loan. Since that time, the company’s products–Ebony and JET magazines and Fashion Fair Cosmetics–have become household names.

But the Ebony Fashion Fair, the world’s largest traveling fashion show featuring black models and designers, was Johnson’s claim to fame. Johnson served as its producer and director from 1961 until 2009. The show appeared in more than 200 cities across the U.S., the U.K., and the Caribbean.

“Under her direction, Mrs. Johnson made a tremendous impact on the fashion industry, showcasing the best in style on African American models of various shapes, sizes, and skin tones,” reads a statement on EbonyJet.com.
Born in Selma, Alabama, Johnson received her bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in art from Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. She also earned a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University in Chicago. She is survived by her daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, the current chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Co.

This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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