John H. Johnson
The State of Arkansas will observe the annual John H. Johnson Day on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at John H. Johnson Museum, 604 President Street, Arkansas City, and Arkansas State Parks Delta Heritage Trail, Arkansas City, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
John H. Johnson Day observance will begin at 10 a.m. with the John H. Johnson statue unveiling at the Arkansas State Parks Trailhead. Artist Susan Holley Williams, a native of Dumas, Arkansas is the sculptor of the John H. Johnson statue and will share her journey in curating the historic sculpture of Johnson.
Williams is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where she studied art and interior design. She began her early career as a professional interior designer in Little Rock, AR. Williams continued her profession as a designer while teaching high school art for the Little Rock School District. She furthered her professional training by studying under two of the most recognized sculptors of recent times, Ev Angelo’s Frudakis of Colorado and Martine Vaugel of Paris, France. Williams has lived in Chicago since 2006.
Linda Johnson Rice, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company and Roy Lewis, former Johnson Publishing Company photographer will have a conversation with author, publisher and presidential diarist Janis F. Kearney. Ms. Johnson Rice and Mr. Lewis will discuss the iconic legacy of John H. Johnson, and the role of Black media in keeping Black history alive and thriving.
Cooking With Soul Chef Jarita Frazier-King of Soul Food Natchez and as seen on Hulu’s “Searching For Soul Food” will lead a hands-on cooking demonstration that celebrates the history and culture of Black food traditions during the 1900’s when John H. Johnson was a child in Arkansas City.
The daylong celebration will also include Mississippi Valley State University demonstrating jug band and period music with a musical petting zoo; a presentation on the architecture and history of John H. Johnson Museum; and presentations by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Arkansas State University, among others.
John H. Johnson Day awards will also be presented to U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis and Coach Larry Clark in the category of humanitarian; Roy Lewis in the category of media and journalism; and Mrs. Michele Ghee (former CEO of Ebony magazine) in the category of business and entrepreneurship.
John H. Johnson Day observance is free and open to the public. With the exception of food sold by food trucks, all events and activities will be free and held in Arkansas City at the John H. Johnson Museum, Robert S. Moore Jr Trailhead in Arkansas State Parks Delta Heritage Trail, and Desha County historic district and lawn.
The observance of this day was established by Friends of John H. Johnson Museum and enacted by legislation during the 92nd Arkansas General Assembly, the memorial holiday honors the life and legacy of Arkansas’ native son, John H. Johnson. Born in Arkansas City, Arkansas, Johnson was the founder and publisher of Johnson Publishing Company, and the iconic Ebony and Jet magazines.
For more information on John H. Johnson Day, John H. Johnson and John H. Johnson Museum, visit www.johnhjohnsonmuseum.org. For more information on Johnson’s Ebony magazine visit 75 Years of Ebony Magazine | National Museum of African American History and Culture (si.edu) at https://nmaahc.si.edu/75-years-ebony-magazine.