Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

When Ebony Magazine’s John H. Johnson Rejected Me, Gently…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Black/White relationships,Friendship & Compassion,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories — Bob at 4:13 am on Thursday, April 11, 2019

I met John H Johnson in 1976 when my Gulliver’s Periodicals began expanding the number of titles I carried to include mainstream magazines. When I requested a meeting with him–and I was absolutely nobody–he granted me one in his beautiful Chicago Michigan Ave building, in his office.

He graciously heard me out, told me he felt he owed loyalty to the Charles Levy Distributing Company the had first given him his chance to be seen on newsstands decades before. But nevertheless wished me luck in my battle with them on the streets of Chicago.

He shook my hand warmly, smiled a certain smile and told me he knew what it was like to start from nothing and try to build a business. He was elegant in his suit and radiated class.

I never felt better being rejected by someone. I continued selling his periodicals from 1966 until Bob’s Newsstand closed July 29,1985.

However, after I created the back-issue store Magazine Memories later that same year, I continued to buy and sell old issues of Ebony dating from 1946 until 2016, one of very few places in the USA where they could be obtained. I had hundreds of them, and Jet, too, in stock.

Thus, my relationship with Johnson’s assorted magazines spanned fifty years. Ironically, I suppose, if John Johnson magically appeared before me, I would tell him I knew exactly how it felt to see something I spent my life building, just disappeared. I can still see his warm and genuine smile, all these years later.

This is still more extremely obscure Chicago history, the kind which never gets recorded because there was no one there to witness any of it except ourselves, and he is gone. But it matters because it reflects very well on a great man’s character, meaning his, years after his 2005 death, and when millions living now never heard of him, or me, either, and history becomes lost. I’ll keep writing about what I hope still matters as time goes by.


Publishing News! (Currently seeking representation as a speaker/poet for hire)

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart  and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998

email: robertmkatzman@gmail.com

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools can call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.

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