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John Harold Johnson (January 19, 1918 - August 8, 2005) was the founder of the Johnson Publishing Company, an international media and cosmetics empire headquartered in Chicago, Illinois that includes Ebony, and Jet magazines, Fashion Fair Cosmetics and EBONY Fashion Fair. Johnson was the first black person to appear on the Forbes 400 Rich List, and had a fortune estimated at close to $500 million. Johnson was born in Arkansas City, Arkansas and in the 1930s moved to Chicago, Illinois with his family, where he attended Chicago's DuSable High School in 1936.

He briefly attended both University of Chicago and Northwestern University before beginning a magazine called The Negro Digest in 1942. The Negro Digest was the prototype for Ebony, which is widely read today. Johnson used unconventional marketing techniques to help launch his first magazines. In order to pique storeowner's interest and prompt them to order a shipment of the magazine, he would ask his friends to go to the stores and ask for Ebony Magazine. Johnson's publications soon became successful. Founded in 1942, Johnson's firm is the largest African American owned publishing company. Johnson Publishing Company also publishes Black Star, Black World and Ebony Jr. magazines.

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