John H. Johnson stamp

Desha County native John H. Johnson, founder Ebony and Jet magazines, was immortalized today with a U.S. postage stamp bearing his image.

The stamp, part of the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage series, was officially unveiled today at a ceremony at Arkansas City where Johnson lived until moving to Chicago at the age of 15.

Johnson, who overcame poverty to build a business empire which included magazines, cosmetics, radio stations, and book publishing, was the first black person on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in America in 1982.

Arkansas Speaker of the House Robert Moore, pictured in the center wearing a dark suit, welcomes guests to Arkansas City for the John Johnson stamp unveiling ceremony on January 31.


“John Johnson’s unyielding commitment to journalistic excellence and his unparalleled reporting on African-American culture have distinguished him as one of America’s greatest publishers,” USPS Chicago Senior Plant Manager Anthony Vaughan said in a statement announcing the release of the stamp.

The Johnson stamp is the 35th stamp in the Black Heritage series, which highlights outstanding individuals who helped shape American culture. Past honorees include Ella Fitzgerald, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson and Langston Hughes.

The Black Heritage stamp honoring Johnson is being issued as a Forever stamp. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.