Update 1/13/12: I received word from Crystal Howard, the Director of Communications at Johnson Publishing Company, that the company has not been sold. But, the building has been, which was the primary focus of this post. I apologize if there was any confusion about the sale of the company vs. the sale of the building. Here is an article reporting the sale of Johnson Products Headquarters to Columbia College.
Ok, I was tryna hold my peace, but I can’t.
Last year, we got word that Johnson Publishing Company was being sold to Columbia College Chicago. To learn that the first and possibly the ONLY black-owned building in the downtown quarters was disappearing before our eyes was heartbreaking. Let’s look at the irony of this situation.
John Johnson was very strategic and visionary in his business dealings as noted in his book, “Succeeding Against the Odds: The Autobiography of a Great American Businessman”. He was calculating in his decision making and actions, which means he researched and prepared for each and every encounter and meeting. It took years of HARD work for Johnson to earn everything he had personally and professionally. How, then, was it so easy for his empire to crumble as a result of poor decision making and other business snafus?
I don’t know the entire story, but I do know that Mr. Johnson is flipping in his grave, a few times. The Crain’s Chicago article said that Johnson Publishing has “one of the largest corporate collections of African-American art.” They also reported, “No word on whether Johnson Publishing will sell the originals or any of the company’s original artwork (though I hear a few pieces will stay with Columbia at the old building).”
That’s horrible! Where is the regard and respect for the work ethic, rewards and legacy of John Johnson?