Civil Rights Leader to Speak on Feb. 22
Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 [7:12 AM]
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive Director
John J.Johnson -- pictured
in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington,
D.C. -- will speak on Feb. 22.
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Area residents will get an
opportunity to hear from one of Kentucky's Civil Rights veterans on
on Human Rights Executive Director John J. Johnson will speak
at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Norma & Glen Hodge
Center for Discipleship, 402 Helen Flatt Drive. His talk -- which
is free and open to the public -- is co-sponsored by the LWC
Student Activities Board and Bonner Scholars.
Johnson will speak about the commission, its founding and its
work. He'll also discuss his distinguished career in civil rights
that spans more than 45 years on the international, national and
Johnson, 67, has been active in the human rights movement since he
was 18. He was one of the youngest presidents of a chapter of the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People when he
was tapped for the position at 19.
"Civil rights has always been a concern to me," said Johnson, a
native of nearby Franklin, Ky. "In my little hometown, I was
involved in the NAACP. The local leader was my pastor and he
offered his position after he had moved to Lexington. I took the
job and helped schools push for integration, for black teachers to
Johnson also pushed for integration of city pools, and he led the
fight against an effort to name Lawrence A. Rainey the head of
Franklin's police department. Rainey was the sheriff of Neshoba
County, Miss., where he gained notoriety for his alleged
involvement with the deaths and cover-ups of three civil rights
workers. An alleged member of the Ku Klux Klan, Rainey was depicted
in the 1988 film Mississippi Burning.
"Thatʼs what got me involved on a national level," Johnson
Johnson's distinguished career has afforded him "some pretty
He monitored elections in South Africa; helped oversee funeral
arrangements for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks; and helped launch
a much-praised NAACP voter-registration drive.
"Iʼve been blessed by being able to help the overall movement in
so many ways," he said.
Since 2007, Johnson has led the groundbreaking Kentucky Commission
on Human Rights,which has its main offices in Louisville, Ky.
"For those who donʼt know, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
is an agency formed by state government," Johnson said. "Kentucky
was the first state in the South to create such an agency. The
Commission has the authority to investigate complaints and issue
rulings with the authority of a court of law.
"It is against the law in the state of Kentucky to discriminate in
the areas of employment, public accommodations, housing and
financial transactions, based on race, color, age, gender,
nationality, disability, and religion, and in the area of housing,
also familial status. We enforce those laws."
John J. Johnson will speak at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Feb. 22,
at the Lindsey Wilson College Norma & Glen Hodge Center for
Discipleship, 402 Helen Flatt Drive. For more information, contact
LWC Student Activities at firstname.lastname@example.org or (270)