When the first issue of Ebony magazine appeared on Nov. 1, 1945, it wouldn’t be long before it would become one of the iconic publications on the African-American landscape. It has been a magazine that highlighted the various aspects of Black life, often with lavish photos of celebrity figures.
Founded by businessman John H. Johnson, Ebony ultimately became the flagship publication of the Johnson Publishing Company. The Chicago-based company would become the largest African-American-owned publishing concern, with its Jet magazine and a book division. Johnson became a celebrated figure in the business world by rising from the welfare rolls of the Depression to become one of the most successful Black businessmen in American history.
Ebony has always sought to address African-American issues, personalities and interests in a positive and self-affirming manner. For decades, advertisers created ads specifically for the pages of Ebony that featured Black models using their products.
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