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Joan Johnson, the woman who played a part in creating one of the largest Black-owned companies in the world, has died at the age of 89.

Johnson co-founded Johnson Products Company, which would go on to be the pioneering Black hair care company in the Black community. The company created revolutionary products such as Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen. Johnson died Friday in Chicago following a long battle with an undisclosed illness.

Johnson Products Company was started in 1954 in Chicago with her husband George Johnson. They started their company with just $250, and eventually created a multi-million dollar business. The company became the first Black owned company to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

“When I think about pioneers, the real pioneers are the people who are able to make a path where none exists,” said her son ,Eric G. Johnson. “Johnson Products in many ways was that company, she and my father had no provided path, they created a path where there was none.”

Eric Johnson said his mother was the true matriarch of the family.

Johnson’s family added that she was a true advocate for women, serving on the Board of Trustees at Spelman College, and all women’s college in Atlanta. According to her obituary, her family plans to continue her amazing legacy by supporting the school with an annual scholarship in her name.

Johnson also served as a sponsor and organizer of the Congressional Black Caucus Fashion Show.

Services will be held for Johnson on Friday in Chicago.

Joan Johnson, Co-Founder of Afro Sheen, Has Died  was originally published on