Arthur Johnson, Ph.D.
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Arthur Johnson

Director, NAACP


Arthur Johnson, Ph.D.
Dr. Arthur Johnson was born in Americus, Georgia on November 5, 1925 to Clara Stewart and Arthur Allen. After graduation from Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama, financial support from his grandmother and a work-study plan allowed Dr. Johnson the opportunity to attend Morehouse College, where he received a degree in sociology and political science in 1948. He earned a master's degree in sociology from Atlanta University and was a research fellow in sociology at Fisk University in 1949 and 1950, respectively.

While at Fisk University, Dr. Johnson was approached by Groster B. Current, National Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), with an offer of the position as Executive Secretary of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP. Intending to stay only three years, Dr. Johnson set out for Detroit in 1950 and did not leave the NAACP until 1964. During his tenure, Dr. Johnson was responsible for facilitating the desegregation of major civil institutions, including schools, businesses, and hospitals. Among his achievements during this period were his efforts to desegregate Detroit majority hospitals and being one of the major forces in establishing the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner in 1956.

Following his work with the NAACP, Dr. Johnson served as Deputy Director of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Deputy Superintendent of the Detroit Public School System, as a faculty member at Wayne State University and the University of Detroit, and in numerous high level administrative positions at Wayne State University.

Dr. Johnson has received numerous honors and community awards, including two honorary doctorate degrees from Morehouse College and the University of Detroit Mercy, respectively. He retired from Wayne State University in 1995.

Tape recorded interview;
Detroit, MI
6 June  1997
audio clip
The following excerpt is selected with regard to Institutional Racism/Discrimination in health care in Detroit:

"The major hospitals in Detroit in 1950 operated with patterns of racial segregation in placement of patients. They didn't want a black and a white person in a semi-private room, and they consistently worked to avoid that. I mean this was it. This [was] commonplace. And people could sense this, and black doctors who had graduated from medical school here and elsewhere, working on the assumption that they would become doctors, soon discovered that they were to be "black doctors" in the sense that they would not be treated equally, fairly, with white doctors in the privileges they were [granted] in these hospitals in Detroit. The major hospitals in many cases did not even respond to [the] letters [from black doctors] requesting appointment. And it was because of these racial segregation conditions in health care that we began to think about ways of how we could break that pattern, and it finally came with the legislation passed by Congress that sought to bar discrimination based on race."


William G. Anderson
Reginald P. Ayala
Arthur W Boddie
Wilma Brakefield-Caldwell
Henry C. Bryant Jr.
Alice Burton
Waldo L. Cain
James W. Collins
Claude and Vivienne Cooper
Gladys B. Dillard
George Gaines Jr.
Leon Gant
Herman J. Glass Sr.
Della Goodwin
Joseph B. Harris
Frank P. Iacobell
Horace L. Jefferson
Sidney B. Jenkins
Arthur Johnson
Rachel B. Keith
William E. Lawson
Josephine Love
Hayward Maben Jr.
Berna C. Mason
Suesetta T. McCree
Dorothy Mottley
David C. Northcross Jr.
Ophelia B. Northcross
Marjorie Peebles-Meyers
Frank P. Raiford III
Garther Roberson Jr.
S. L. Roberson
Elsie Smith
Fannie L. Starks
Lionel F. Swan
Natalia M. Tanner
Oretta Mae Todd
I. Clara Webb
Charles F. Whitten
Charles H. Wright
Watson Young


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Copyright , Kellogg African American Health Care Project, 2000.
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