The Press: Passion with a Purpose

When John H. Johnson, a young Negro publicity man in Chicago, borrowed $500 to start a new magazine, he took a successful model: the Reader's Digest (circ. about 9,000,000). But Johnson's Negro Digest, launched in 1942, was edited exclusively for Negroes. By culling other magazines for thoughtful articles about Negroes and their problems, and running original pieces by such writers as Hodding Carter, Johnson gave his Digest a sober, conscientious tone that was new to the generally sensational, often irresponsible Negro press. By 1945, Digest was such a success that Johnson started Ebony, a LiFE-like picture monthly (TIME, Oct. 1, 1945)....

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