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A Perfect Community

by Shawanakee Jackson 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program. The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

When I think of the perfect community, the first thing that comes to mind is peace. In my perfect community, there would peace among every brother and sister; not just African Americans but every culture. We would be blind to color, because color would not matter in my community. It would be equal opportunity and the word minority wouldn’t exist. We would unify each other in every aspect. No brother or sister would stumble alone.

African history would be taught in our schools, not just European history. Our children will learn their roots from an early age. It has taken me 21 years to learn my roots and who I am really. In elementary school, my teachers didn’t teach me about Egypt. I was taught European, German, French and Korean history. I didn’t learn about El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz until I was in eighth grade; and as far as I can remember, most teachers didn’t teach about Malcolm X because of his past years in prison. Growing up, I have only learned of Dr. King and Rosa Parks; respect is all due to them, but they are not the only Black leaders.

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John H. Johnson Honored with Black Heritage Forever Stamp

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The John H. Johnson Forever Postage Stamp. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

Pioneering entrepreneur and publisher John Harold Johnson received one of the U.S. Postal Service’s highest honors on Jan. 31 when he was commemorated with this year’s Black Heritage Forever Stamp.

Johnson, the founder of the Johnson Publishing Company, which publishes Ebony and Jet magazine, now joins the 34 other honorees in the Postal Service’s Black Heritage Stamp series since 1978.

Johnson was born on Jan. 19, 1918, and died of heart failure on Aug. 8, 2005, at the age of 87.

Johnson made the decision to first publish the horrific details and photos of the open casket funeral of 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till, a Chicago youth who was murdered in Mississippi by two white racists for whistling at one of their wives in August 1955.

You can see a video of Residents’ Journal’s coverage of the Johnson Publishing Company’s involvement in the memorial service on the 54th anniversary of Till’s death at: http://youtu.be/7CBfolmW1bM.

The Johnson “Forever Stamp” was designed by art director Howard E. Paine and is equal in value to the current First Class stamp, 45 cents each or $9 a sheet.
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