November 1: JET Magazine Launched on This Day in 1951

0 Posted by - November 1, 2021 - Looking Black On Today, On This Date

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: The Johnson Publishing Company

 Since November 1, 1951, JET Magazine has explored topics ranging from Emmet Till to President Barack Obama.  

It also featured fan favorites, including JET’s Beauty of the Week column and its Love section. JET depicted the lives of African-Americans overcoming the confines of racial discrimination. This was before there was a radio or television in every household. The African-American experience was buried during that age – when they lived separate and certainly unequal to Whites.

JET has recorded news affecting Black life and culture since its inception. The Johnson Publishing Company’s founder was John H. Johnson. His company owned JET. The Black media mogul’s vision when he started JET was to reach out to large numbers of Black people around the nation.

Johnson wanted to recognize their lives as beautiful and deserving. This notion took root in his heart and thoughts.  The more African-American images got omitted from the news and other forms of media, the more determined he grew. In 1942, he founded Negro Digest, which reached out to individuals in Black families and shops around the country. The staff wanted to see the beliefs, lives, and goals their fellow men and women represented.

However, nine years later, in response to the rapid pace of the news cycle, Johnson started publishing the pocket-sized JET.

“There is more news and far less time to read it,” Johnson wrote in an editorial in the first edition of the leaner JET.

In 2014, 65 years later, JET — which transitioned to an all-digital format — continued its historic mission as the sister newspaper to EBONY magazine and EBONY.com.

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