“The time for a Negro magazine, the time for a Negro Digest or an Ebony or JET, had come and nothing could stop it if-and it’s a big if – the idea could find a man or a woman who willing to do anything or almost anything, to make the time come.” -John H. Johnson
John H. Johnson was the creator of the Negro Digest, Ebony, and JET. His entrepreneurship inspired much of the media scene within the Black community. When he initially had the idea to create his first publication, the Negro Digest, he recieved a lot of discouragement. However, his mother believed in him and allowed him to use her furniture as collateral for a $500 loan. By having only one person believe in his vision, Johnson was able to create the Johnson Publishing Company along with three of the top Black magazines in history.
Growing up, I loved reading Ebony, JET, and Essence. I was always delighted when the latest edition of these magazines were delivered to my house. While getting my hair done at the salon, there would often be stacks of older editions of these magazines for me to read. Truly, these magazines played a big role in instilling confidence within me as a young Black girl in the South.
I truly love Ebony, JET, and Essence. But if I had to choose, Ebony magazine would probably be my favorite. This is because Ebony paved the way for JET and Essence magazine. Ebony magazine was one of the first publications to display all of the beautiful aspects of Black culture.
For this magazine issue, I wanted to highlight the history of Black media along with it’s evolution. During Black History Month, I felt it was important to honor Black publications such as Ebony, JET, and Essence. In fact, the front cover of this magazine issue was inspired by Ebony’s vintage covers.
I am excited to present the February 2022 issue of Nineteen Fifty-Six to you all. I hope this magazine issue inspires you and educates you about the history and evolution of Black media.