Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Harold Ford Jr. Pays Respect To Media Pioneer John H. Johnson

"The funeral service for Johnson Publishing Company mogul John H. Johnson Monday had all the trappings of a state funeral.

Streets around the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel were blocked by blue, wooden police barricades, limousines and small motorcades made continuous stops on two sides of the chapel and Secret Service agents stood silently and discretely around the grounds.

Among the numerous VIP's in attendance, former President Bill Clinton; Rainbow/PUSH founder Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.; Lerone Bennett, Ebony's executive editor emeritus; Motown founder Barry Gordy; Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan; Rev. Al Sharpton; PBS radio show host and commentator, Tavis Smiley; legendary boxing promoter Don King; Bishop T.D. Jakes; radio mainstay Tom Joyner and his wife, fitness guru Donna Richardson Joyner; comedian and activist Dick Gregory; record, film and television producer Suzanne de Passe; Time Warner president and CEO Richard Parsons; BET founder Robert Johnson and current CEO, Debra Lee; Black Enterprise founder and publisher Earl Graves Sr.; Christie Hefner, CEO, Playboy Enterprises, Inc.; Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and wife, Michelle; Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-2nd); Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.); Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st); Rep. Danny Davis (D-7th); Gov. Rod Blagojevich; ambassador and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and Mayor Richard Daley.

Mourners were lined up in double rows along the west sidewalk in front of the South Side chapel nearly two hours before the 11 a.m. event.

There was an overflow crowd in the beautiful, cavernous house of worship, and those who couldn't get inside waited patiently in the street for the end of the two and a half hour ceremony.

When the celebration of Johnson's life was completed, the live musical accompaniment in the sanctuary began to play the Billy Strayhorn/Duke Ellington classic, Take the 'A' Train, signaling Johnson's departure from this earthly station."

From: Black America Web