Black History Month Spotlight: NAACP’s Derrick Johnson

In 2017, the executive committee of the NAACP National Board of Directors elected Derrick Johnson President and CEO. Derrick Johnson formerly served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP.

A longstanding member and leader of the NAACP, Mr. Johnson has been guiding  the Association through a period of re-envisioning and reinvigoration.

Born in Detroit, Mr. Johnson attended Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS. He then continued onto Houston, TX to receive his JD from the South Texas College of Law. In later years, Mr. Johnson furthered his training through fellowships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has served as an annual guest lecturer at Harvard Law School, lending his expertise to Professor Lani Guinier’s course on social movements, and as an adjunct professor at Tougaloo College.

Mr. Johnson is a veteran activist who has dedicated his career to defending the rights and improving the lives of Mississippians. In addition to his many endeavors and achievements, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina Johnson founded One Voice Inc. to improve the quality of life for African Americans through civic engagement training and initiatives. One Voice has spawned an annual Black Leadership Summit and the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute, a nine month training program for community leaders.

Johnson uses his   firm and eloquent voice to take on such issues as Charlottesville, voter rights, and other topical issues which concern many Americans today.  An issue  of utmost concern was the melee in Charlottesville which took place in 2017.  After the event he weighed in on the horrific encounter between the protest groups  and continued to keep his pulse on the topic. A the time of the  incident he was quoted as saying, “We have once again seen the familiar faces of hate and bigotry. We have seen white supremacists – wrapped in armbands emblazoned with the
Swastika, holding torches, and carrying the flags of the Confederacy – march through
Charlottesville, one of our great American cities. And we have felt a familiar frustration as those in our nation’s highest office have chosen not to acknowledge the pain that these hateful symbols bring, but rather have
chosen to blame individuals ‘on many sides.’

We have received thousands of calls and emails from citizens around the country
asking: ‘what can I do?’ I say, we must stand strong, arm-in-arm with our neighbors, to speak out in one
unified voice. We must use our time, our talents and our resources to assist, and to
caution against the repeated rhetoric that has helped to fuel this climate of
division and derision.”

Johnson  told Right On! Digital that he encourages people of all ages to become active members of the NAACP.[http://www.naacp.org/membership/].