“Mrs. Johnson [was] smart enough as a businesswoman, as a visionary, to take color and translate it to the needs of women of many hues … Everything with Mrs. Johnson became a celebration of who we are, of who Black women were.”
~ Andre Leon Talley, Editor-at-Large for Vogue
On April 4, 1916, a baby girl was born in Selma, Alabama to Nathaniel and Ethel (née McAlpine) Walker. Naming her “Eunice”, she would be one of the couple’s four children. Her parents were professionals, as her father was a physician and her mother was a principal.
Bright, industrious and talented, Eunice Walker matriculated Talladega College, a historically Black institution of higher learning in Alabama. At the oldest, private Black college in the state, she majored in sociology and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta, a Black sorority. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938, Walker moved to Chicago, Illinois.
In “The Windy City”, she began studying for her Master of Arts degree in social work at Loyola University. It was during this time her life would forever change. In 1940, she met John H. Johnson, the editor of Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company. They began courting and upon receiving her graduate degree, John and Eunice married in 1941. The couple would be blessed with two children, John, Jr. and Linda.