James E. Johnson, PhD, civil rights activist
James E. Johnson, PhD joined fellow students at the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro on the 2nd day of the movement. The young Johnson assumed the role of “transporter,” driving students to the sit-in, back to campus for classes, and then back to the sit-in.
Later, Dr. Johnson became involved in opposing the Pearsall Plan, which sought to undermine Brown v. Board of Education of 1955. He therefore encouraged African-American students to exercise their right to “freedom of choice” by enrolling in formerly white schools. This required students and their parents or guardians to complete applications which then had to be notarized. Dr. Johnson worked throughout the piedmont notarizing these applications.
Throughout his life, Dr. Johnson has remained a stalwart champion of civil rights. He was active in the voting rights movement, pushed to get Head Start in Guilford County, and served 7 years on the Guilford County Human Relations Commission. He was the first African-American to fun for the office of mayor of Greensboro.
Dr. Johnson is a long-standing member of Mount Zion AME Church in Cedar Grove, Orange County.