Selma native Eunice Johnson dies

Published 8:53 am Tuesday, January 5, 2010

CHICAGO (AP) — Eunice Johnson, the widow of Ebony magazine founder John Johnson and a fashion maven who ran thousands of traveling runway shows aimed at black audiences, has died. She was 93.

Johnson died Sunday of renal failure at her Chicago home, said Wendy Parks, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company Inc., on Monday.

Johnson had been the director and producer of the Ebony Fashion Fair since 1961. The traveling high fashion charity event that showcases black designers and models is staged in nearly 200 cities each year. Ads for the show have featured singer Aretha Franklin, and actor Richard Roundtree made his debut as a model with the show.

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“I don’t know of anyone who brought fashion to the community the way she did,” said former model Dori Wilson, who is now a publicist in Chicago.

Wilson said Johnson traveled worldwide to collect clothes for the shows and that designers created special pieces with Johnson and her audience in mind.

“She was a lady who had tremendous style and elegance,” Wilson said.