Military Veteran and Sports Enthusiast Dr. James W. Johnson Impacts Black History

Dr. James W. Johnson (Photo by: Waldemar Reichert)

As a civil rights leader, military veteran, sports enthusiast, educator and advocate for social justice, Hyde Park resident Dr. James W. Johnson has impacted many lives throughout his illustrious career.

A former athlete at Dunbar High  School during the 50s, and now a retired professor of history from the University of Alabama A&M, Johnson has influenced students, athletes, politicians, dignitaries, ministers and a host of other prominent individuals throughout his lifetime.

“I served as a private in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1959,” Johnson said. “The Korean War had ended but the draft continued. I was drafted in 1957 and served a two-year tour of duty in the Panama Canal Zone where the Army trained me as a medic and x-ray technician.”

With a strong background in history, Johnson was credited as a pioneer in the South, for launching and spearheading the “Buffalo Soldiers” exhibit project in 1995.

The project was a historical exhibit that was once displayed in the James H. Wilson Hall at the University of Alabama A&M Black Archives Research Center and Museum in Huntsville, AL during the 90s.

“As a tribute to the soldiers, I wanted to create a permanent exhibit for the Black Archives Research Center,” Johnson said. “I served as director of the museum (during the time) and had a hand in obtaining national historic landmark status for Alabama A&M University’s James H. Wilson building.”

The exhibit was dedicated to the 10th Calvary Regiment, a group of all Black soldiers who were dubbed “Buffalo Soldiers” by Native Americans during the Indian Wars of the late 1800s. The group was also known for its combat in the Spanish American War, the Philippine-American War, the Mexican Expedition, World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, making a strong impact throughout history.

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Source: Black Press USA