Friday, January 16, 2009

African-American Magazines: John. H. Johnson

On Martin Luther King's Birthday (he would only have been 80, but not for the senseless tragedy of 1968) this entry seems quite appropriate:

The Johnson publishing began with Negro Digest in 1942. I recently bought a run of the first three years of this exceedingly important periodical on a great search site and refernece source. In 1945, the very successful Ebony was started and joined by the digest-sized Jet in 1951 became the core of an empire that is still going strong today.

There were many offshoots and imitators- every one is scarce and many are quite rare, I've made a point of collecting this genre of magazines and have been fortunate to acquire quite a few. Here are some (but by no means all) of my favorites, including one featuring the lately departed Eartha Kitt. I can almost guarantee you will find this assemblage nowhere else. The next to last two images show how the progress in civil rights was reflected in the image of the African-American woman! (as ever, a great example of how the study of magazines provides unique insights into American popular culture.

and lastly, a very rare cover featuring the great Paul Robeson. Had he been living today, his talents would be much more widely appreciated.

1 comment: said...

are there any copies of the 1945 Ebony magazine anywhere?