Johnson, John H.
- Jamal Donaldson Briggs
publisher and media mogul. John Harold Johnson was born to Leroy and Gertrude Johnson in Arkansas City, Arkansas. His father was killed in a sawmill accident when John was eight. In 1927 his mother married James Williams, whom Johnson later credited as the dominant force in his life.
In July 1933, Johnson and his mother moved to Chicago so that he could further his education; there were no black high schools in Arkansas City. His stepfather joined them later. The family was on welfare for a time, having moved to Chicago during the height of the Great Depression. Johnson graduated from DuSable High School with honors in 1936. During high school he met Harry H. Pace president of the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company one of the largest African American businesses in the North Pace encouraged Johnson to work part time at Supreme Liberty as editor ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.