John Johnson, the founder of Johnson Publishing Company, which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines, is the 35th honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series. The Postal Service has recognized the achievements of prominent African Americans through the Black Heritage series since 1978. Past honorees have included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Madam C.J. Walker, Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, Marian Anderson, Langston Hughes and Barbara Jordan.
“John Johnson’s unyielding commitment to journalistic excellence and his unparalleled reporting on African American culture have distinguished him as one of America’s greatest publishers,” said USPS Chicago Senior Plant Manager Anthony Vaughan.
Joining Vaughan to dedicate the stamp at Johnson Publishing Company’s Chicago offices today were Linda Johnson Rice, chairman, Johnson Publishing Co.; Desiree Rogers, CEO, Johnson Publishing Co.; Rahm Emanuel, mayor, Chicago; Richard M. Daley, former mayor, Chicago; U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, 7th Congressional District; and Rev. James Meeks, Salem Baptist Church of Chicago.
“I’m immensely proud that my father and his life’s passion are being recognized in such a high honor as the Black Heritage Stamp,” said Linda Johnson Rice. “His legacy lives on in all whom he touched and in the work we continue to do daily.” The stamp goes on sale today at Post Offices nationwide, online at usps.com and by phone at 800-782-6724.
From poverty to the pinnacle of American society, Johnson’s journey was extraordinary. He was born in Arkansas City, AR., where schools were segregated and there were no high schools for black students. By the time of his death at age 87, he commanded a business empire encompassing magazines, cosmetics, radio stations, book publishing and more. In 1982, he became the first black person to appear on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in America.
Johnson was the trailblazing publisher of Negro Digest, Ebony, Jet, and other magazines that showcased African American accomplishments at a time when such affirmation was rare in mainstream media. In 1946, the year after it was founded, Ebony landed its first national advertising account. Selling advertising space to white-owned corporations and persuading them to use black models in their ads were major breakthroughs.
In recognition of his achievements, Johnson received many prizes and honors, including the NAACP’s prestigious Spingarn Medal in 1966 and being named publisher of the year by industry peers in 1972. President Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996, and a panel of experts polled by Baylor University in 2003 named Johnson the greatest minority entrepreneur in American history.
He has given food and provision to those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever and imprint it [on His mind]. —Psalm 111:5
Do you have financial worries or concerns about provision in your life right now? If you find yourself worried that you will not have enough, you’re not alone. I have found that many people have the same fear.
Today’s scripture teaches us that as long as we have reverence for God and worship Him, we can count on Him to provide for us. I believe this principle is an important key to having our needs met. If we maintain reverent attitudes toward God and are faithful to worship Him, then we will be able to live in faith instead of fear when needs arise.
Maybe you are facing the possibility of losing your job or your home. Maybe you are working as hard as you can, but your income simply is not enough to support your family. Maybe you are living on Social Security and wondering what the future holds for you. You see prices rising continually and the enemy whispers, “You aren’t going to have enough to live on.”
I encourage you to commit today’s scripture to memory. Meditate on it often, and obey it. As you worship the Lord, remind yourself of all the ways He has taken care of you throughout your life; thank Him for all He has done for you; ask Him for wisdom; and tell Him that you love Him and trust Him to meet every need in your life.
Love God Today: “Thank You, Lord, for being a faithful, trustworthy Provider for me as I continue to worship You.”
– Joyce Meyer
The stamp honors Robert Robinson Taylor (1868-1942). The son of emancipated slaves, he was the first black student to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). When he graduated in 1892, he became the first fully accredited African-American architect in America.
During his time at MIT, Taylor met Booker T. Washington. President of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Washington focused on education to fight discrimination in the post-Civil War South. He was impressed with Taylor and recruited him to teach at the school.
As the drafting instructor and architect to the Tuskegee Institute, Taylor was dedicated to promoting Washington’s self-help philosophy. His architectural debut, Science Hall, was constructed entirely by the students, right down to the bricks. But Taylor’s second project, the Tuskegee Chapel, was his proudest accomplishment. Washington once referred to it as the most imposing building on campus. Taylor’s designs and structures were said to epitomize the institute’s standards of excellence.
Taylor spent the majority of his career at Tuskegee. He became a model of achievement through his many contributions – a symbol of pride for the Tuskegee Institute and the nation.
Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid : the depths also were troubled. (Psalm 77:14-16)
Within our world of modern technology and conveniences, it is so easy to take the things of God for granted. God has blessed us with things well beyond our greatest imaginations. However, with the easy convenience of everything, we sometimes forget that none of these things would be possible without God’s grace in our lives. No matter how much we may attain, we are not self-sufficient. Every good and perfect gift is from God. Whenever we face situations that seem insurmountable, we need to remember that God is in control. He is the God of wonders who does what seems impossible. Just ask those who have been healed of terminal illnesses. No situation is too big or small for God. We need to trust him with all of our cares for he cares for us.
Prayer: Father, as you are more than we could ever imagine, teach us to remember all of your wonderful works in our lives. Teach us, O Lord, to fully trust in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen
Romare Howard Bearden was born on September 2, 1911, to (Richard) Howard and Bessye Bearden in Charlotte, North Carolina, and died in New York City on March 12, 1988, at the age of 76. His life and art are marked by exceptional talent, encompassing a broad range of intellectual and scholarly interests, including music, performing arts, history, literature and world art. Bearden was also a celebrated humanist, as demonstrated by his lifelong support of young, emerging artists.
Romare Bearden began college at Lincoln University, transferred to Boston University and completed his studies at New York University (NYU), graduating with a degree in education. While at NYU, Bearden took extensive courses in art and was a lead cartoonist and then art editor for the monthly journal The Medley. He had also been art director of Beanpot, the student humor magazine of Boston University. Bearden published many journal covers during his university years and the first of numerous texts he would write on social and artistic issues. He also attended the Art Students League in New York and later, the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1935, Bearden became a weekly editorial cartoonist for the Baltimore Afro-American, which he continued doing until 1937.
From the mid-1930s through 1960s, Bearden was a social worker with the New York City Department of Social Services, working on his art at night and on weekends. His success as an artist was recognized with his first solo exhibition in Harlem in 1940 and his first solo show in Washington, DC, in 1944. Bearden was a prolific artist whose works were exhibited during his lifetime throughout the United States and Europe. His collages, watercolors, oils, photomontages and prints are imbued with visual metaphors from his past in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Harlem and from a variety of historical, literary and musical sources.
Bearden was also a respected writer and an eloquent spokesman on artistic and social issues of the day. Active in many arts organizations, in 1964 Bearden was appointed the first art director of the newly established Harlem Cultural Council, a prominent African-American advocacy group. He was involved in founding several important art venues, such as The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Cinque Gallery. Initially funded by the Ford Foundation, Bearden and the artists Norman Lewis and Ernest Crichlow established Cinque to support younger minority artists. Bearden was also one of the founding members of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in 1970 and was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1972.
Recognized as one of the most creative and original visual artists of the twentieth century, Romare Bearden had a prolific and distinguished career. He experimented with many different mediums and artistic styles, but is best known for his richly textured collages, two of which appeared on the covers of Fortune and Time magazines, in 1968. An innovative artist with diverse interests, Bearden also designed costumes and sets for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and programs, sets and designs for Nanette Bearden’s Contemporary Dance Theatre.
Bearden’s work is included in many important public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. He has had retrospectives at the Mint Museum of Art (1980), the Detroit Institute of the Arts (1986), as well as numerous posthumous retrospectives, including The Studio Museum in Harlem (1991) and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2003).
Bearden was the recipient of many awards and honors throughout his lifetime. Honorary doctorates were given by Pratt Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Davidson College and Atlanta University, to name but a few. He received the Mayor’s Award of Honor for Art and Culture in New York City in 1984 and the National Medal of Arts, presented by President Ronald Reagan, in 1987.