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History Revealed: Hope in the Struggle
February 23 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Ramsey County Historical Society Presents
Hope in the Struggle
Dr. Josie Johnson
History Revealed Series
February 23, 2021
Tuesday, 7:00 pm
with Tish Jones and Peter Rachleff
and in partnership with the East Side Freedom Library
Live presentation on Zoom
Register in advance for this meeting:
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The presentation will be recorded.
Hope in the Struggle tells the story of how a Black woman from Texas became one of the most well-known civil rights activists in Minnesota, detailing seven remarkable decades of fighting for fairness in voting, housing, education, and employment.
Josie Johnson will share her memoir about shouldering the cause of social justice during the darkest hours and brightest moments for civil rights in America, and, specifically, in Minnesota. Hope in the Struggle shines light on the difference one person can make. For Josie Johnson, this has meant making a difference as a Black woman in one of the nation’s whitest states. She will be joined by Peter Rachleff of the East Side Freedom Library.
Josie’s story begins in a tight-knit community in Texas, where the unfairness of the segregated South, so antithetical to the values she learned at home, sharpened a sense of justice that guides her to this day. From the age of fourteen, when she went door to door with her father in Houston to campaign against the Poll Tax, to the moment in 2008 when, as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention, she cast her vote for Barack Obama for president, she has been at the forefront of the politics of civil rights. Her memoir offers a close-up picture of what that struggle has entailed, whether working as a community organizer for the Minneapolis Urban League or lobbying for fair housing and employment laws, investigating civil rights abuses or co-chairing the Minnesota delegation to the March on Washington, becoming the first African American to serve on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents or creating the university’s Office of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs with a focus on minority affairs and diversity. An intimate view of civil rights history in the making, Hope in the Struggle is a uniquely inspiring life story for these current dark and divisive times, a testament to how one determined soul can make the world a better place.
Born in 1930 in San Antonio, Texas, Josie R. Johnson has been an educator, activist, and public servant for more than seven decades. Along with her work for the Urban League and the University of Minnesota, she has been office manager, campaign manager, and chief of staff for multiple political campaigns and public officials, including campaign manager for the first African American lieutenant governor of Colorado, and co-chair of the African American DFL Caucus in Minnesota. She holds degrees in sociology, education, and education administration. She lives in Minneapolis and continues to serve her community, advocating for equal rights and social justice.
Tish Jones is the Founder & Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks. She is a poet, organizer and educator from Saint Paul, Minnesota and is currently serving as the Brave New Voices Leadership Fellow at Youth Speaks in San Francisco. She has performed at The Walker Art Center, Intermedia Arts, The Cedar Cultural Center and more. Her work can be found in the Minnesota Humanities Center’s upcoming anthology entitled, Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015), the 2011 and 2013 Saint Paul Almanac, the Loft Literary Center’s Nation of Immigrants audio CD.
To purchase titles from the History Revealed series, or other books of interest, see our partner, Subtext Books at https://subtextbooks.com/