Dr. Joseph E. Johnson
May 24, 2013
Dr. Joseph E. Johnson was born on August 7, 1934 in Wilmington, Delaware where he attended Elementary School #29 at 12th and Poplar Streets and graduated from Howard High School in 1953. He attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio where he earned a degree was in Biology. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Army and served as a surface-to-air missile officer in Texas and Rhode Island for two years.
After leaving the army, Dr. Johnson and his wife moved to New Jersey where he attended Seaton Hall University and received his Masters degree in School Administration. While working towards his degree, he taught in New Jersey schools. He went on to receive his Doctorate in School Administration from the University of Massachusetts.
Dr. Johnson returned to Wilmington in 1965 at the urging of his high school friend Leonard Williams, who had become an attorney and a judge. Judge Williams was working with Louis L. Redding, Esq. on the implementation of school desegregation and other civil rights cases. In Wilmington, Dr. Johnson served as a Vice-Principal at Warner Junior High School and was made the Principal of P.S. du Pont High School in 1968. After leaving P.S. du Pont in 1970, Dr. Johnson became the Superintendent of the Wilmington School District.
There were many attempts to reorganize the schools during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, a single school district was created to cover all of New Castle County. There were many cases brought to the Federal Courts on how to best desegregate the schools and provide quality education for all students. Dr. Johnson testified as an expert witness in many of these cases. Finally, the Courts created four school districts and Dr. Johnson became Superintendent of the Red Clay Consolidated School District where he served for nine years.
In spring 2013, Dr. Johnson served as a civil rights "Legend" to students at Eastside Charter School as part of Street Law's Closing the Gap initiative.
Want to get involved? Volunteers needed in fall 2013 for Street Law's Closing the Gap initiative.
(Reproduced with permission)