Arkansas Business' 25 Minority Trailblazers (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

Charles Stewart, executive vice president at Regions Bank

In 1993, he founded the nonprofit P.A.R.K. Inc., which offers educational opportunities to high-risk youth to encourage college attendance.

Sixteen years later, Jackson and P.A.R.K. are still doing just that.

10. John Harold Johnson
Because there were no high schools for blacks to attend in his hometown of Arkansas City in the 1930s, John Harold Johnson and his family moved to Chicago, where he became editor in chief of his high school paper. It was the start of a remarkable career in publishing.

In 1942, Johnson founded Johnson Publishing Co., which publishes magazines such as Ebony, Jet and EM, also known as Ebony Men.

The enterprising Johnson expanded his company's portfolio to cosmetics with a business unit called Fashion Fair Cosmetics.

In 1996, Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-President Bill Clinton, who said Johnson gave "African-Americans a voice and a face, in his words, 'a new sense of somebody-ness' of who they were and what they could do, at a time when they were virtually invisible in mainstream American culture."

Johnson served on myriad boards of directors such as Dillard's Inc., Chrysler Corp., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and Dial Corp., to name a few.

Johnson, who grew the largest black-owned magazine, died of heart failure in August 2005. He was 87.

11. Lawrence Johnson
In 2000, Lawrence Johnson became the first black chief of police of the Little Rock Police Department.

Before that, Johnson worked 27 years at the Oklahoma City Police Department, where he climbed to the post of deputy chief of police.

Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in general education and a master's degree in political science from the University of Central Oklahoma at Edmond.

Johnson, who faced accusations of preferential treatment among officers, stepped down after five years on the job.



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