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John H. Johnson’s Bronze Memorial Sculpture Unveiling Set For Nov. 1

On Nov. 1, the late founder, chairman, publisher and CEO of Johnson Publishing will have his legacy immortalized in his home state of Arkansas

The unveiling of the John H. Johnson Memorial sculpture is a daylong celebration at the Arkansas State Parks Trailhead from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Artist Susan Holley Williams devoted nearly a year to the project. She and Johnson hail from the same county in Arkansas, Desha.

“Everything I’ve done in my creative life has prepared me for this moment: creating sculpture of the legendary John H. Johnson on behalf of the state of Arkansas. I am honored.” Williams shared via Instagram. She thanked the Walton Family Foundation and the state of Arkansas for their support and commission.

The commemorative statue will be a part of the 5th annual John H. Johnson Day in Arkansas City, where the media mogul was born. 

“I tend to be cautiously optimistic, and I never get overconfident. I run scared every business day and use every legal means necessary to survive and grow,” business mogul John H. Johnson told BLACK ENTERPRISE  30 years ago.

In 1987, Johnson was named BE’s first Entrepreneur of the Decade, landed on BE 100s list, and was ranked No. 1 on BE’s list of 40 Business Titans Who Shaped the World. 

“For six decades, Johnson made full use of his wealth and influence to shape American history, while using his publications—primarily Jet and his flagship, Ebony—to cover the battle for civil rights and chronicle every major event that depicted the trials and triumphs of African Americans,” BE reported.

At the event, the lineup of memorable moments will include discussions with Linda Johnson Rice, the daughter of Johnson, a musical petting zoo from Mississippi Valley State, and a presentation on the architecture and history of the John H. Johnson Museum.

Guests can experience a hands-on cooking demonstration with chef Jarita Frazier-King of Soul Food Natchez. She will bring the nostalgia of the “history and culture of Black food traditions during the 1900s when John H. Johnson was a child in Arkansas City,” according to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) blog.

John H. Johnson Awards will also be presented to U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis and coach Larry Clark for their humanitarian work, former Johnson Publishing Company photographer Roy Lewis in the category of media and journalism, and Mrs. Michele Ghee, former CEO of Ebony magazine, in the category of business and entrepreneurship.

All events and activities will be free and open to the public, except for food sold by food trucks.

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