Bishop Johnson Biography Project

In 1953, Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. returned to the campus of Vanderbilt University after almost 13 years. This time, instead of working as a groundskeeper, he returned as the university’s first African American student. The path, from his first arrival to his second, was complex and courageous.

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Bishop Johnson Named 2014 "Distinguished Alumnus" at Vanderbilt Divinity School

Bishop Joseph Andrew Johnson, Jr was posthumously conferred the "Distinguished Alumni" award at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

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Bishop Johnson Biography Receives Grant Support from Lilly Endowment via Louisville Institute

Rev. Cynthia Johnson-Oliver, President of the Bishop Joseph Johnson History Project, has been awarded a grant to fund a biography of Bishop Johnson.

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Welcome to the website of The Bishop Joseph Johnson History Project! 

BJJBCC signThe Bishop Johnson History Project is dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of Bishop Joseph Andrew Johnson, Jr, the first African American to be admitted and to graduate from Vanderbilt University (B.D., 1954), to receive a PhD from the University (1958), and to become a member of the Vanderbilt University Board of  Trustees. The Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University honors his legacy.

Bishop Johnson was also the 34th  bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and former president of Philips School of Theology. [Click here for full bio.]

Founded by his granddaughter, Rev. Cynthia Johnson-Oliver, the History Project exists to preserve the oral history and papers of Bishop Johnson and to meet the continuing demand for his books, sermons, and papers that persists over 30 years after his death.

Rev. Johnson-Oliver is writing a biography of Bishop Johnson and is currently conducting interviews for this project. Click here to schedule an interview or share your memories of Bishop Johnson. Follow her journey on the History Project Blog.

Thank you for visiting. Be sure to follow the Blog and Facebook page to receive updated information about the History Project.