Founder of Ebony, Jet magazines dies
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(CNN) -- Publisher John H. Johnson, who founded Ebony and Jet magazines, died Monday at age 87, his company said.
The cause of death was not made public, said Latrina Blair, a spokeswoman for Johnson Publishing Co. in Chicago, Illinois.
Born in Arkansas City, Arkansas, in 1918, Johnson began his publishing career in 1942 as editor and publisher of Negro Digest, later Black World, according to a biography published on his company's Web site.
Three years later, he began publishing Ebony, which the company describes as "the No. 1 African-American magazine in the world."
And in 1951 he founded Jet, which the company calls "the world's No. 1 African-American newsweekly magazine."
Johnson Publishing Co. describes itself as the world's largest African-American-owned and -operated publishing company.
It also publishes books by black authors, owns Fashion Fair Cosmetics and produces television specials.
The National Association of Black Journalists on Monday hailed Johnson as a "visionary."
"We all grew up with Ebony, Jet and Johnson publications. Mr. Johnson was a pioneer, a visionary, and an inspiration to us all," association president Bryan Monroe said in a news release.
"He is responsible for the careers and success of hundreds of black journalists and his voice will be missed."
Johnson began his career as a clerk at Supreme Life Insurance Co., where he worked his way up to the job of chairman and chief executive officer.
He knew Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon and served on the boards of Dillard Department Stores, Bell & Howell, Chrysler, Conrail, Continental Bank, Arthur D. Little, Supreme Life Insurance, 20th Century Fox and Zenith Electronics.
He is survived by his wife, Eunice, and their daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, who is president and chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing Co.
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