June 22, 2011
Arkansas City (Desha County) native John Johnson built a publishing empire that became the largest company in the world owned and operated by an African American. In 1942, using his mother’s furniture as loan collateral, he published his first magazine, Negro Digest. This early success led to the creation of Johnson Publishing Company and the publication of Ebony and Jet, two of the most significant magazines targeted toward a Black audience. At the time of his death in 2005, he was listed as one of the 400 richest Americans.