December 31, 1947 - April 13, 2007
|June E. Johnson
Posthumous recipient of ROAR'S Inaugural
H.A.D. Humanitarian Service Award
in honor of Fannie Lou Hamer Victoria Gray
Adams and Annie Devine
October 7, 2007
Jobe Hall Auditorium
Delta State University
June E. Johnson was born in Greenwood, Mississippi to the
late Theoda and Lula Bell Johnson, Sr. on December 31, 1947.
Her parents hosted visiting SNCC (Student Non-violent
Coordinating Committee) workers for many years. June was
raised by her maternal grandmother Emily Johnson Holt who
also preceded her in death.
June began attending SNCC meetings in her early teens after
seeing a flyer about a mass meeting at one of the local
churches. Robert (Bob) Moses convinced her parents to
allow June to attend the meeting and subsequent voter
In June 1963, after attending a voter registration workshop,
June was arrested and beaten in jail in Winona, Mississippi
along with Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, Euvester Simpson, Annelle
Ponder, James West and others.
June worked as a paralegal for North Mississippi Rural Legal
Services (1972-73). Throughout 1970’s she was actively
involved in lawsuits aimed at stopping racist practices of
Greenwood city and Leflore county governments as named
plaintiff and as paralegal investigator.
With Marion Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund,
June drew attention to failures of Mississippi anti-poverty
agencies and investigated Mississippi prison conditions. In
1978, she was the first African-American woman candidate for
Leflore County Board of Supervisors.
June moved to Washington, D.C., in 1982, worked in city
government for the Office of Paternity and Child Support
Enforcement (1983-86), and as a home hospital teacher. From
1995 until September 2006 (after health began to fail her)
June was the program monitor in the Office of Early
Childhood Development and served as first Vice-President of
the Washington, D.C., Ward 6 Democrats.
She was a research consultant for the film Freedom Song
(2000), about Mississippi SNCC workers and lead consultant
for the documentary Standing on My Sisters Shoulders, a film
documenting her civil rights activism, along with fellow
activists Dorie Ladner, Fannie Lou Hamer, Victoria Gray
Adams, Annie Devine, Lawrence Guyot and others.
Additionally, she is featured in a documentary produced by
American Public Radio entitled Mississippi Becomes A
Continuing her consultations to various organizations and
institutions right up to her death, June provided information
that few spoke of or cared to share. She never stopped
planning on how to get accurate information out about the
civil rights movement. She often recalled “Mrs. Hamer called
me to her bedside when she was dying and told me all about
her unfinished business”. "I gave Blood with this lady, do you
June E. Johnson became a Consultant to ROAR in 2003 and
continued right up to her dying days with plans for joint
projects in the summer of 2007.
|President Bill Clinton & Ms. June E. Johnson
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(c) copyrighted THE ROAR FOUNDATION, INC. April 2007