Ebony magazine was created by John H. Johnson in 1945. Once a month it chronicled the progress of Black America. It landed in the mailbox of every barber shop, real estate ofﬁce, beauty shop, church, and anywhere black folks congregated. Its sibling magazine was Jet (since 1951). If you missed your Ebony, you could pick up a Jet at the local liquor store. It was a weekly magazine.
Randomly picking up an December, 1961 issue of Ebony, we see a picture of a beautiful black woman. She’s Bonnie Bianci. She’s 23. She’s an engineer. She holds a bachelors in electrical engineering and a masters in technical writing. Impressive, even in today’s historical calendar. Ms. Bianchi is one of thirty in training for aeronautical work.
The same Ebony introduces us to Ms. Sylvia Bishop, a trainer of thoroughbred race horses. Benjamin E. Mays, one of Dr. King’s mentors and Professors at Morehouse College writes, “Why I believe there is a God”. The South African musical play, King Kong, will open on Broadway after a term in London.
Hat makers and wig makers advertise their products and subtly offer introductions to new careers as wig and hat makers. A March 12, 2007 Jet magazine shows us a healthy Jennifer Hudson, along with Beyonce and Noni Rose, in Dream Girls, while Forest Whitaker shows off his Oscar. Winnie Mandela makes a historical visit to America and speaks at the World Faith Conference. Her subject is, ironically, “The signiﬁcance of recognizing African American History and the contributions Blacks have made to the world.”
Jet reports in its July 16, 2007 issue about an increase in enrollment in southern Black College students and introduces another side of Ce Ce Winans. It also introduces Carol R. Johnson as head of Boston Public Schools. She had previously served as Superintendent of Memphis Public Schools where the schools were declared to be in good conditions under the “No Child Left behind” theory.
The March, 1967 edition of Ebony introduces Adam Clayton Powell, Congressman from Harlem, New York.
White Congressmen declared that Harlem has no Congressman and this was the end of the United States. Powell’s famous saying was, “Keep the faith baby”. This March issue of Ebony also tells us about baseball great Willie Mays and Cowboy singer Charley Pride. The August, 2008 issue displays pictures of the 25 coolest Brothers of all times. It includes Muhammad Ali, Barack Obama, Billy Williams, Samuel Jackson, Marvin Gaye and Denzel Washington. This issue also announces the run of Barack Obama for President of the United States.
Other magazines like Sepia, Black Enterprise, Life, Emerge, and a whole series of Black-related magazines and Black newspapers like The Journal sprang up. The March 19, 1965 Issue of Life Magazine even highlighted the Civil Rights Movements with an article entitled, “The Savage Season Begins”. This is a departure from The Ebony and Jet reports, and though these two magazines as well as many other Black magazines are no longer in print, other magazines, both black and non- black, continue telling the story of Black Americans.