On November 1, 1945, the first issue of EBONY magazine was published. Also, JET magazine was born on this day in 1951. Founded by John H. Johnson, these two publications pioneered the representation of Black America in the mainstream media, a position that Mr. Johnson had to fight for:
“The problem was advertising or, to come right out with it, the lack of advertising. How did John H. Johnson intend to deal with the problem? By persuading corporations and advertising executives to give EBONY the same consideration they gave Life and Look. To do that he had to convince corporations and advertising executives that there were was an untapped, underdeveloped Black consumer market larger and more affluent than some of the major White foreign markets. This was a a revolutionary approach – revolutionary from a racial, marketing, and advertising standpoint — and he couldn’t sell it to lower-level functionaries. He had to go to the top and sell the Black consumer market the same way you sell a foreign market.” —Succeeding Against The Odds: The Autobiography of a Great American Businessman“
As we celebrate more than 70 years of excellence, take a look at some the EBONY archived covers.