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Ebony Magazine Matriach Remembered

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Former President Bill Clinton escorts Eunice Johnson, widow of Ebony magazine founder John Johnson, into the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago for her late husband's funeral on Aug. 15, 2005. (AP File Photo)Eunice Johnson, 93, the widow of Ebony magazine founder John Johnson and producer and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair recently died of heart failure. In an official company statement, the Johnson Publishing Company states: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Eunice W. Johnson, wife of the late John H. Johnson, founder of Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. As a trailblazer in fashion, Mrs. Johnson served as producer and director of Ebony Fashion Fair since 1961 and also held the office of secretary-treasurer at Johnson Publishing, home to Ebony and Jet magazines.

Mrs. Johnson has always been a woman ahead of her time. Under her direction, Mrs. Johnson made a tremendous impact on the fashion industry, showcasing the best in style on African-American models of various shapes, sizes and skin tones. It was her sheer determination and astute business sense that helped pave the way for supermodels Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Iman and Beverly Johnson.

To date, Ebony Fashion Fair, the world’s largest traveling fashion show, which annually encompasses a nearly 180-city tour of the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, has raised more than $55 million for various charities.

For her commitment to community service, Mrs. Johnson has obtained several awards including honors from the United Negro College Fund, The Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, Alabama A&M, Loyola University and a host of others.

Mrs. Johnson will be sincerely missed, and her life and work will continue to be defined by her contributions to the world of fashion and design for years to come.

The publishing company is now headed by their daughter, Linda Johnson Rice.


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