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Edward Lewis

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Information about Edward Lewis

Profile image of Edward Lewis

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Magazine Publishing Chief Executive
Entrepreneur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Sweet Potato
Favorite Time of Year:
Thanksgiving
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Bali, Indonesia
Favorite Quote:
No Doubt About It.

Birthplace

Born:
5/15/1940
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Magazine Publishing Chief Executive
Entrepreneur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Sweet Potato
Favorite Time of Year:
Thanksgiving
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Bali, Indonesia
Favorite Quote:
No Doubt About It.

Birthplace

Born:
5/15/1940
Birth Location:
New York
See how Edward Lewis is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Magazine publisher and entrepreneur Edward Lewis was born on May 15, 1940, in the Bronx, New York. His father was a night shift janitor at City College; his mother a factory worker and beautician. Lewis attended De Witt Clinton High School, where he excelled academically and was a star fullback on the football team. Upon graduating from high school in 1958, he earned a football scholarship to the University of New Mexico. Lewis received his B.A. degree in political science in 1964 and his M.A. degree in political science and international relations in 1966, both from the University of New Mexico. He later graduated from Harvard University’s Small Business Management Program.

Lewis worked first as an administrative analyst for the City Manager’s Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1964 to 1965, and then as a financial analyst at First National City Bank in New York City from 1965 to 1969. In 1969, he co-founded Essence, a magazine specifically targeted to black women, and went on to serve as CEO and publisher of Essence Communications, Inc. for three decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, Lewis expanded Essence Communications to include a weekly television show, fashion line and mail order catalogue, as well as an annual awards show and Essence music festival. In 1992, Lewis acquired Income Opportunities from Davis Publishing; and, in 1995, he co-founded Latina magazine, a bilingual publication geared toward Hispanic women.

In 1997, Lewis became the first African American chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America. In October 2000, Lewis engineered a partnership with Time, Inc. and Essence Communications was sold to Time in 2005. He later joined the private equity firm Solera Capital as a senior adviser and published a memoir, The Man from Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women, in 2014.

Lewis has sat on the boards of TransAfrica, the Rheeland Foundation, New York City Partnership, the Central Park Conservancy, A&P, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Teachers College of Columbia University, Spelman College, Tuskegee University and the Harlem Village Academy; and served as chairman of Latina Media Ventures. He also served on President Barack Obama’s Board of Advisors for the Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Essence magazine ranked seventh on Advertising Age’s 2003 “A-List,” which was the first time that an African American targeted publication received the honor. Lewis’s personal awards include the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Publishing from Ernst & Young; the President’s Award from One Hundred Black Men of America, Inc.; the Frederick Douglass Award from the New York Urban League; the United Negro College Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the American Advertising Federation Diversity Achievement Award; the Henry Johnson Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Henry Luce Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2014.

Edward Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 7, 2014.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Lewis' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis describes his father's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about his experiences as an only child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis describes his mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis talks about his maternal family members
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis describes his relationship with his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis talks about his maternal family's decision to move north
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward Lewis remembers his maternal aunt, Matilene Spencer Berryman
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edward Lewis describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis remembers his early aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis describes the racial dynamics of the Bronx, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers his education in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis describes his upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about his mother's second marriage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes his relationship with his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis remembers caring for his paternal grandmother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis remembers visiting his maternal family in Farmville, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis describes his neighborhood in the Bronx, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis remembers DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis recalls his recruitment to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis talks about adjusting to the University of New Mexico
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis remembers losing his college athletic scholarship
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis recalls his coursework in Russian history
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes his student activism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis remembers his admission to Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis talks about the careers of his football teammates at the University of New Mexico
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis talks about President Richard Nixon
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis recalls losing his scholarship to Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis remembers his experiences at First National City Bank
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers the formation of The Hollingsworth Group, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis remembers the formation of The Hollingsworth Group, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis describes the initial structure of The Hollingsworth Group
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis remembers the first issue of Essence magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis talks about the founding of Essence magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis describes the early advertising in Essence magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis recalls the overhead costs at Essence Communications, Inc.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers his mentors in the publishing industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about the success of Essence magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about the early editors in chief of Essence magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis remembers his former business partners' lawsuit
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis describes Essence's relationship with Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis remembers Marcia Ann Gillespie
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis recalls promoting Susan Taylor as the editor in chief of Essence magazine
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis talks about the magazine industry
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis describes the growth of Essence Communications, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers creating the Essence Music Festival
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about the success of the Essence Music Festival
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about Black Enterprise magazine
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes the advertising challenges at Essence Communications, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis remembers his business relationship with John H. Johnson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis talks about Camille Cosby's board membership at Essence Communications, Inc.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis describes the negotiations between Essence Communications, Inc. and Time Inc.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis describes his departure from Essence Communications, Inc., pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis talks about the future of Essence magazine
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis describes his departure from Essence Communications, Inc., pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about the title of his book, 'The Man from Essence'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about his plans for the future
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Edward Lewis reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Edward Lewis talks about his second marriage
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Edward Lewis describes his aspiration to become a blues singer