Crain’s Chicago Business recently reported that Columbia College, the recently new-ish owner of the original Johnson Publishing Company building, is, in fact, looking to sell the original JPC building. Columbia bought the building in 2010, while I was still working as an editor (and writer) at Ebony. The recent news encouraged me to take a trip down memory lane to a time when Johnson Publishing Company was still housed in the old building at 820 S. Michigan. (Ebony and Jet, which were recently acquired by a new company, are currently housed in a new-ish, swanky location across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago.) At the time, I was the Senior Writer and then the Senior Editor of Ebony, where I wrangled covers, wrote cover stories on celebs and helmed entertainment, books, business and lifestyle coverage (amongst other things.)

I hope that someone can buy that building and perhaps put it on the national historic registry. It deserves to be there. It’s a part of national, and Chicago, history. That said, I took a swing through my old cellphone and found a few photos taken inside the 820 building. The images are a bit blurry because, well, old technology. I have a ton of photos, but here are the first few that popped up. Here goes.

Chicago’s own Jeremih came through for an interview. This was YEARS ago. And the image to the right is of the 8th floor, which traditionally was home to the Ebony staff and archives.
My pre-marriage cubicle. Peep the brass clock on the wall and the framed John H. Johnson cover in back of my chair. And that’s me on the right. Must’ve been winter, per the wool sweater.
The Ebony/8th floor seating area is to the left and the conference room is to the right. That orange cast isn’t a filter; the floor is basically orange and brown. A very cool vibe actually. And those magazines on the table? I persuaded the cover stars to be on two of those covers, plus I set up the shoot dates and all that jazz. Essentially, outside of writing and editing stories, I was a professional negotiator.

Director, Multicultural @Medium. Focusing on ZORA, Momentum, Level and bolstering creators of color. All ideas welcome. And yes, I’ll still be writing.

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