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[[image - black & white photograph of John Harold Johnson receiving honorary degree from Morehouse College]]

Hugh M. Gloster, President of Morehouse College


You have come a long way since 1933, when you and your widowed mother left a poverty-stricken Arkansas town and went to the World Fair in Chicago, where you two decided to remain because of the prospect of a better life in the Windy City.

In Chicago you attended DuSable High School, where you gave indications of your future career as a leader and publisher by becoming president of your class and the Student Council and editor of the school paper and the class yearbook.

Your multiple achievements in high school attracted the attention of Harry H. Pace, president of the Supreme Life Insurance Company, who persuaded you to work part time with his firm and attend the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

At the Supreme Life, where you were first assistant to the editor and later managing editor of that company's house organ, you conceived he idea of The Negro Digest (now The Black World), a magazine consisting of condensations of articles about the Negro in newspapers and periodicals, and developed this publication into a well-known monthly.

Encouraged by the success of The Negro Digest, you were inspired in 1945 to launch Ebony, a pictorial magazine designed to provide entertainment, information, and inspiration for black readers. Gaining immediate popularity, Ebony now has a monthly circulation of 1,200,000 and enjoys heavy revenues from top advertisers seeking to reach Negro consumers.

In 1950 you launchd Tan (now called Black Stars); and a year later you started Jet, the first black digest-size news and picture magazine in the country. Enjoying a popularity second only to that of Ebony, Jet now sells 500,000 copies a week.

Today the Johnson Publishing Company is the largest black enterprise of its kind in the country. It is a $20,000,000 business housed in a $6,000,000 eleven-story lake-front edifice on South Michigan Avenue, the first building constructed by a Negro firm in downtown Chicago.

Let it be mentioned here that Johnson publications are more than mere news magazines. They report news but the also describe the achievements of black folk and show the way out of the racial dilemma in the United States. Let it also be noted that Johnson publications continue at a heavy financial loss the production of the The Black World, which prints the works of young Negro writers and encourages them toward literary success.

Besides being President of Johnson Publications, you are President, Chairman of the Board, and largest stockholder of the Supreme Life Insurance Company - the North's largest black-owned business, where you got your first job - and a Director of the Marina City Bank of Chicago, the Service Federal Savings and Loan Association, the Twentieth-Century Fox Film Corporation, the Advertising Council, the Opportunities Industrialization Center, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the National Corporation for Housing Partnerships. You are also a trustee of the Institute of International Education and the United Negro College Fund and a member of the Chicago Press Club and the Chicago Urban Transportation Commission.

From time to time you have been an advisor and a representative of American Presidents. You were a member of the President's Commission for the Observance of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations. You were among twenty businessmen invited by President Eisenhower to a stag dinner at the White House in 1955, and you were a member of press groups that accompanied Vice President Nixon on goodwill trips to nine African countries in 1957 and to Russia and Poland in 1959. You were appointed by President Kennedy as a member of a four-man delegation that represented the United States at the independence celebration of the Ivory Coast in 1961 and by President Johnson to serve in the same capacity in Kenya in 1963.

Because of your spectacular success as a publisher and as a leader, you have received numerous awards including the United States Chamber of Commerce Award in 1951 as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Year, the Horatio Alger Award in 1966 for your rise from humble beginnings to national renown, the John Russwurm Award in 1966 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Spingarn Medal in 1966 by the NAACP for "distinguished merit and achievement among American Negroes," and the University of Chicago Alumni Association's Professional Achievement Award in 1970, and the Sigma Delta Chi Journalistic Society ward in 1970.  You have also received honorary degrees from Benedict College, Central State University, Eastern Michigan University, Lincoln University, Malcolm X College, North Carolina Central University, and Shaw University.

Closely associated with you in your work are your mother and your wife, co-owners with you of the Johnson Publications and the Supreme Beauty Products Company. Mrs. Eunice Johnson, Director of the Ebony Fashion Fair, conducts each year a traveling fashion show that benefits both the magazine and sponsoring community groups.

Three of the top executives of the Johnson Publishing Company are Morehouse alumni - Lerone Bennett Jr., Senior Editor of Ebony, Robert E. Johnson, Executive Editor of Jet, and Robert A. DeLeon, Managing Editor of Jet. But we want you, the Publisher and Editor of Johnson Publications and one of the most successful businessmen in the United States, to be a Morehouse man.

Therefore, upon the recommendation of the Faculty and by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of Morehouse College, I am pleased to confer upon you the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, with all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities thereunto appertaining.

[[image - black & white photograph of Major General Howard]]
[[caption]] Major-General Oliver O. Howard was assigned to head the Freedman's Bureau [[/caption]]

[[image - engraving of The Abraham Lincoln School for Freedmen]]
[[caption]] The Abraham Lincoln School for Freedmen in New Orleans. [[/caption]]

The Rosenwald Fund was established by the Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, who became a member of the Board of Trustees of Tuskegee in 1912. This Fund helped to build more than 5,000 public s schools for Negroes in the South by offering to match community and state contributions with its own funds, thus stimulating local initiative. n 1900 the South was spending twice as much for the education of white children as it was for Negro children, and many rural counties had no schools at all for Negroes. The Fund also aided in the training of colored teachers and, under the direction of Edwin R. Embree, established fellowships for Negro leaders in various educational fields. 

[[image - black and white photograph of Julius Rosenwald]]
[[caption]] Julius Rosenwald of Sears, Roebuck, whose gifts helped to build schools for Negroes. [[/caption]]
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