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Joan Johnson, Co-Founder of Johnson Products Company, Dies at 89

Joan JohnsonJoan Johnson

Joan Johnson, co-founder of the Black hair care business Johnson Products Company, died Friday at the age of 89 after suffering with a long illness, according to CNN.

In 1954, she created the company alongside her husband George Johnson in Chicago.

Johnson Products became the first Black-owned company to be traded on the American Stock Exchange and launched products such as Ultra Sheen and AFRO Sheen. It also became a sponsor of the television show Soul Train in the 1970s.

“The Johnsons were the first successful family we in the African American communities read about,” Johnson’s publicist Dori Wilson told CNN. “She was perceived as a shrewd and smart businesswoman. I can’t remember any other product that was really synonymous with the African American community.”

In addition to her company, Johnson was a trustee at Spelman College. Her family will honor her legacy by giving the school an annual scholarship.

Funeral services will be held for Johnson in Chicago on Sep. 13.

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