Dr. Josie R. Johnson | Civil Rights Leader

(702) – Perspectives on Civil Rights 

Host | Nitika Moibi 




Josie Johnson was born in Houston, Texas, on October 7, 1930. Josie is the daughter of a Houston-based civil rights leader. She has played an active role in the civil rights movement since her teenage years, when she and her father gathered signatures on an anti-poll tax petition in her hometown. Josie earned a B.A. in Sociology from the Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and an M.A. and Ed.D from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

As a veteran civil rights leader, Josie lobbied to pass Minnesota’s anti-discrimination laws in 1956. She is a committed champion for fair housing, equal employment and better educational outcomes for children. In 1967, she served as the acting director for the Minneapolis Urban League for one year. She taught in the African American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota, and was later appointed to the Minnesota Board of Regents, where she served from 1971 to 1973. In 1992, she became the associate vice president in charge of minority affairs at the University and directed their All-University Forum as diversity director.

Dr. Josie Johnson is a recipient of numerous awards and honors. The University of Minnesota established the Annual Josie Robinson Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award in her honor.