This past week, Arkansans celebrated one of our own. The 92nd Assembly signed into law Act 1062, designating November 1, 2019 as the inaugural John H. Johnson Day in Arkansas. John H. Johnson was an Arkansan and as well as a District 11 native.
A descendant of slave grandparents and native to Arkansas City, John H. Johnson was an American business icon. During the Great Depression, his family migrated to Chicago where he launched the world-renowned Johnson Publishing Company. Johnson Publishing provided recognizable periodical publications such as Ebony, Jet, and the Negro Digest. The company also owned and established the International Cosmetics Line, Fashion Fair. This project was spear-headed by his wife, Eunice to fill a need for a charitable cause. There is so much history wrapped into why it is important to celebrate the life and legacy of John H. Johnson. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you one of the events that I was honored to take part in this past week.
On this past Friday, November 1, 2019, the Friends of John H. Johnson committee hosted an event at Mr. Johnson’s historical childhood home in Arkansas City. The John H. Johnson Museum is a real-wood structure originally built in in the early 1900’s and serves as a commemorative display of his life and accomplishments.
The program was filled with beautiful recognitions in which many local as well as state officials participated along with some of our District 11 constituents. Also, in attendance was special guest, Ms. Linda Johnson Rice who is the daughter of Mr. Johnson. Ms. Rice shared fond memories of her father and was presented a key to the city by Arkansas City Mayor Rick Hales.
I certainly do not wish to get into trouble naming individuals, because there are so many people and organizations who made this day possible; however, I would like to thank the Friends of John H. Johnson Committee who have really worked hard from the beginning. This group of District 11 constituents as well as others around our State were integral players as some of my colleagues and I in the 92nd Assembly worked to pin and sponsor Act 1062 establishing this occasion. The Friends Committee consisted of Molly Bratton, Faye Parker, Angela Courtney, Katie Daniels, and Michelle Robinson in Arkansas City. The Friends Committee in Little Rock consisted of Dr. Calvin Johnson, Janis Kearney, Angela Courtney, Dr. Lillie Fears, Tara Jones, and Vickie Newton.
I would also like to highlight the Arkansas Humanities Council for awarding a grant to the McGehee School District for $2,700 for participating teachers and students. The grant will pay for transportation to the Museum, art supplies, and a book about the Mr. Johnson’s life by author, Dr. Margena A. Christian, “Empire: The House That John H. Johnson Built.”
I like to share informative items that constituents might find useful. If you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 501-682-6211.