Author Archives: Cynthia Johnson-Oliver


In Memoriam: Dr. Joseph A. Johnson III (1940-2017)

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Joseph Andrew “Joe” Johnson, III age 77. Joe passed away on Sunday morning, June 25, 2017. Beloved husband of Dr. Lynette E. Johnson; father of Christopher (Ivy) Johnson, Bradley (Sandra) Johnson, Kyla, and Tayari (Sean) Allardice; brother of Patricia (Larry) Powell. Joe was “Papa Joe” to […]

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Chance Encounter with Family of Bishop C.H. Phillips

As we Recap 2016, I am reminded of a moment of what can only be described as divine synchronicity while we were on the road filming the documentary about my grandfather, Bishop Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. We were in the Atlanta area filming at a family gathering when we decided to take a detour to visit the […]

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Bishop Johnson Documentary Film In Progress

We are pleased to announce that filming is underway for a documentary about the life and legacy of Bishop Joseph Andrew Johnson Jr. Thanks to a grant from the Lily Endowment (via the Louisville Institute) and a matching grant from Vanderbilt University, Bishop Johnson’s life story will now be told in print and on the […]

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U. S. Colored Troops: The First Freedom Fighters

On a brisk October morning, I gathered my husband and two daughters for a trip to nearby Washington, DC. It was unseasonably cool and uncomfortably close to nap time for my younger daughter, but I wanted my entire family, particularly my older daughter, to experience this visit. A short time later, we arrived. I stepped […]

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Bishop Johnson Biography Receives Grant Support

Rev. Cynthia Johnson-Oliver, President of the Bishop Joseph Johnson History Project, has been awarded a Pastoral Study Project grant from the Louisville Institute to fund her book project, The Soul of the Bishop: The Life and Legacy of Bishop Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. (1914-1979). The book-length biography will chronicle the life of her grandfather, Bishop Johnson, […]

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Honorees and Presenters

Bishop Joseph Johnson Posthumously Receives Distinguished Alumni Award, Vanderbilt Divinity

    Bishop Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. was posthumously conferred the “Distinguished Alumnus” award at Vanderbilt Divinity School on October 3, 2014. Bishop Johnson was the first African American to graduate from Vanderbilt University (BD’54), the first to receive a PhD (1958) and the first to serve as a full member on the Board of Trusts. […]

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L to R: Dwayne Johnson, Patricia Johnson-Powell, Rev. Cynthia Johnson-Oliver, Dr. Riggins Earl, Bishop Paul Stewart, Dr. Evelyn Parker, Dean Emilie Townes, Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, and Dr. Frank Dobson

Scholars, Religious Leaders Reflect on Bishop Johnson’s Life and Legacy

The auditorium of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University was filled with students and other members of the Vanderbilt community, members of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, including Senior Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, and members of the Johnson family, all of whom gathered to hear reflections on the life and legacy […]

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2014 Distinguished Alumni Celebration Dinner

Bishop Johnson Named “Distinguished Alumnus” at Vanderbilt Divinity School

We are pleased to announce that Bishop Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. has been named a 2014 Distinguished Alumni/ae award recipient at Vanderbilt Divinity School. The Vanderbilt Divinity School award is “given to someone who has demonstrated excellence and distinction in justice making through their work in congregational ministry, religious institutions, ecumenical organizations, community –based organizations, government, or […]

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Faith of Our Fathers – Rev. Joseph A. Johnson, Sr.

The Rev. Joseph Andrew Johnson, Sr., was born in Rapides Parish, Colfax, Louisiana on February 17, 1885, the son of Rev. Bowman Henry Johnson and Mrs. Martha Johnson. He converted to Christianity at an early age, and experienced the call to Christian ministry at the age of 24. He was admitted on trial and ordained […]

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