3rd Bartling History Lecture Series
Dr. Josie R. Johnson, “The First Lady of Minnesota Civil Rights” Wednesday, October 16th, 10:30 – 11:25 a.m. Buenger Education Center, Concordia Univesity, St. Paul.
Dr. Johnson’s Biography (Read the Star Tribune Article)
Dr. Josie Johnson, now 83, has been active in the civil rights movement since her teen years when she and her father gathered signatures for an anti-poll tax petition in her hometown in Texas. In 1963, Johnson led the Minnesota delegation to the historic March on Washington. A year later, she and a multi-racial group of women went on a secret fact-finding mission to Jackson Mississippi. Their goal was to witness first-hand what was happening to African Americans who were trying to register to vote. Most recently, Dr. Johnson fought against the Voter ID initiative in Minnesota last year, and continues to speak out in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to gut the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
An activist for equality for over five decades, Dr. Johnson is one of Minnesota’s most celebrated civil rights leaders. Called a “trailblazer” and “The First Lady of Minnesota Civil Rights,” her distinguished career spans positions as a lobbyist, community and campaign organizer, educator and administrator, and an advisor to political leaders. She was the Director of the Minneapolis Urban League, a professor of Education and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota, and completed her career as a principal at a school serving primarily low-income African American students.
Dr. Johnson is the recipient of numerous awards and was recently featured on the front page of the Star Tribune for her involvement in the civil rights movement. She was the first African American member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and has a special award for Human Rights and Social Justice named in her honor there.
Dr. Johnson earned a B.A. in Sociology from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and a M.A. and Ed. D at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.