Chicago’s iconic Johnson Publishing Co., owner for decades of Ebony and Jet magazines that helped change the image of black people portrayed by U.S. media, has filed for bankruptcy liquidation in federal court.
In announcing the petition filed Tuesday, the company said it was “caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome.”
The company was founded in 1942 by John H. Johnson in Chicago when he launched Negro Digest with a $500 loan secured by his mother’s furniture. He later went on to found Ebony magazine in 1945 and Jet magazine in 1951.
Johnson publishing at one time also owned a top-rated Chicago radio station and Fashion Fair Cosmetics.
In 2016, Ebony and Jet were sold to Texas equity firm Clear View Group.