The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will honor John H. Johnson, founder of preeminent media company Johnson Publishing Co. which publishes EBONY and JET magazines, by featuring the distinguished business leader on a 2012 Forever Stamp as part of its Black Heritage stamp series.
Johnson was also owner of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a global prestige cosmetics brand for women of color. He died in 2005.
The announcement comes as the USPS is in the process of reviewing which ad agencies will handle its $100 million advertising account. In addition to contracting with a new general market agency, request for proposals have also been issued to African-American Hispanic and Asian advertising shops. The USPS did not include ethnic marketing agencies in its last review in 2002.
A preview of the John Johnson stamp, which will be available nationwide in 2012, will be on view at Beyond the Perf, on Facebook and on Twitter @USPSstamps as part of the USPS' effort to harness social media to bring the message of its honorary stamps to a broader audience. The stamps will also be available to view on johnsonpublishing.com, ebony.com and jetmag.com.
Since 1978 the Black Heritage series has honored Black Americans whose contributions to the civil rights movement, politics, business, art, and culture have had a substantial and lasting impact on the Black American community and on American culture. Past honorees include Harriet Tubman (1978), Martin Luther King (1979), W.E.B. Du Bois (1992), Langston Hughes (2002), and Thurgood Marshall (2003).
Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company and daughter of John H. Johnson, said, "I am honored and pleased that the U.S. Postal Service has chosen to recognize the extraordinary and revolutionary work my father did in giving a voice and a platform to Black Americans in a time when so few sources recognized our achievements. We are committed to carrying on his legacy and to continue producing products that portray the best of Black America and represent the community with the same level of pride and authenticity."
"We are proud to immortalize John H. Johnson as our latest inductee into our Black Heritage stamp series," said Stephen Kearney, manager, stamp services, USPS. "As the trailblazing publisher of EBONY, JET, and other magazines, and as an entrepreneur, he became the first African American listed by Forbes magazine in 1982 as one of the 400 wealthiest people in America. Johnson overcame poverty and racism to build a business empire embracing magazines, radio stations, cosmetics, and more. His magazines portrayed Black people positively at a time when such representation was rare, and played an important role in the civil rights movement."