The magazines had once helped to counter the negative images of black people that popular U.S media portrayed.
There was a time (Early decades of the 1900s) when black lives were portrayed in the most negative light in the popular media of the United States. A set of voices had shot through when a Chicago publishing house launched Ebony and Jet magazines. Later to become a giant, the publisher made the magazines a touchstone in African-American life.
#Blacktwitter #ebonymagazine They were to slow to embrace— @ Black Jesus com (@BlackJesuscom) 9 April 2019
the internet. Mr. John Johnson's courageous entrepreneurial journey
as a Black man starting from nothing to creating the biggest
Black publishing empire shouldn't end this way pic.twitter.com/n2BRRWEF38
However, now, it's closing doors. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Johnson Publishing Co. filed for bankruptcy liquidation Tuesday in a federal court in Chicago. JPC plans a court-supervised sale of its assets.
In announcing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, the company said it was "caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome."
The issues included the bankruptcy of a major retailer that carried its Fashion Fair Cosmetics line, a "costly recall" of products and increasing competition from digital rivals, the company said.
Chicago's iconic Johnson Publishing Co., owner for decades of Ebony and Jet magazines that helped change the image of black people portrayed by U.S. media, has filed for bankruptcy liquidation in federal court. https://t.co/qhdGULBtBY— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) 10 April 2019
John H. Johnson founded the company in 1942 when he launched Negro Digest with a $500 loan from his mother. The magazine summarized newspaper articles about black life. However, the Ebony magazine was not founded until 1945 when the company partnered with Life magazine - one of the nation's leading magazines at the time.
Publisher of iconic black magazines files for bankruptcy pic.twitter.com/AhbLVnyfM2— New York TIME (@NewYorkTIME5) 10 April 2019
The average monthly circulation of Ebony was around 2 million for a time in the 1990s, making it the largest magazine catering to the black community.
Ebony began publishing in November 1945 with a promise “to mirror the happier side of Negro life — the positive, everyday achievements from Harlem to Hollywood. But when we talk about race as the No. 1 problem of America, we’ll talk turkey.”
#EbonyMagazine files for #bankruptcy— Clarene Mitchell (@MrsCMitch) 9 April 2019
Despite the torrid history of the mag not paying #journalists #EbonyOwes, this is troubling news. As someone who grew up w/ Ebony & Jet as my norm & a supporter of the #Blackpress, I hope this is not the end for ithttps://t.co/3llW1q2ZeB
The filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago is a painful reminder of how far the company has fallen since its heyday as one of the most recognizable African American brands in the nation.
“This decision was not easy, nor should it have been,” the company said in a press release announcing the move. “Johnson Publishing Company is an iconic part of American and African American history since our founding in 1942, and the company’s impact on society cannot be overstated.”
Johnson Publishing Co. files for bankruptcy, plans to sell assets https://t.co/8pag7UPmtz— DrJDFord (@DrJDFord1) 10 April 2019
Ebony and Jet magazines inspired countless black youths — former President Barack Obama among them — and he used his position to donate millions to African American educational and civil rights causes.
Johnson sought to present a dignified, well-rounded portrayal of African-Americans that would inspire future generations. He succeeded in creating a record of black culture considered by some to be more authoritative than the Library of Congress or any encyclopedia.
Johnson Publishing Co., said it was “caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome.” https://t.co/zlQUclL7zr— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) 10 April 2019
When Johnson’s Chicago funeral drew several civil rights leaders, in 2005, Former President Barack Obama had recalled the inspiration he drew from Johnson’s magazines.
When I was growing up, basically the only black men on television were criminals or Flip Wilson dressed in drag as a character called Geraldine,” Obama, who wouldn’t win the White House for another three years, had said then.
https://t.co/CPWCcy4bpQ— YOSHIFOTO (@YOSHIFOTO) 9 April 2019
After a 71-year run as an outlet for the expression of both the highest aspirations and deepest frustrations of African-Americans, Johnson Publishing Co. has sold its iconic lifestyle magazine, Ebony, and the now digital-only Jet magazine. #ebonyjet
Stories in Ebony and Jet helped Obama and others aspire to lofty positions, he said.
“It gave you a sense that strong, capable black men were out there and you didn’t have to assume that your fate was automatically working in some menial job or getting involved in crime,” Obama said.