tsmithjohnson (tsmithjohnson) wrote,
tsmithjohnson
tsmithjohnson

L. C. ANDERSON HIGH SCHOOL TRIBUTE 5:1965 YELLOWJACKETS YEARBOOK: SENIORS & "THE VERNON JOHNS STORY"

MY SELECTION NO. 5 FOR "BEST MOVIES OF THE SIXTIES" IS

"THE VERNON JOHNS STORY"

STARRING "JAMES EARL JONES"!!



The Vernon Johns Story is the inspirational saga of the man who preceded Martin Luther King Jr. as pastor of a Montgomery, Alabama Baptist Church. Described as "one of God's most brilliant preachers," Johns campaigned tirelessly for Civil Rights long before the cudgel was taken up by the "mainstream." Before leaving his post, Johns passed the torch to young Reverend King, who is but a minor character in this positive, uplifting TV-movie!!
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Vernon Johns:
Vernon Johns (April 22, 1892 -- June 11, 1965) was an American minister and civil rights leader who was active in the struggle for civil rights for African Americans from the 1920s. He is considered by some as the Father of the American Civil Rights Movement, having laid the foundation on which Martin Luther King, Jr. and others would build. He was Dr. King's predecessor as pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama from 1947 to 1952, and a mentor of Ralph Abernathy, Wyatt Walker, and many others in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Background: Johns was born in Darlington Heights, Prince Edward County, Virginia, the grandson of slaves. He graduated from Oberlin Seminary in 1918 and attended the University of Chicago's graduate school of theology. He died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C. on June 11, 1965 at age 73.

PLOT: In Prince Edward County, Virginia, the Robert Moton School was the scene of a student strike for better conditions in 1951. One student leader, Barbara Rose Johns was the niece of Vernon Johns. Though he was in Montgomery at the time of the student strike, many report that he was influential in giving advice. His wife was a former teacher in the Robert Moton High School, and he still had numerous familial ties in the community of Farmville and the surrounding area. The Johns family knew the social politics of the area. The local NAACP chapter saw an opportunity to push for change and helped the students continue the fight after the ten day strike was over. This case, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, would be combined into others and brought to the U.S. Supreme Court as Brown v. Board of Education.
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THANKS TO WIKIPEDIA FOR THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION!!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Johns

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Vernon Johns (April 22, 1892 – June 11, 1965) was an American minister at several black churches in the South and a pioneer in the civil rights movement. He is best known as the pastor 1947–52 of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama. He was succeeded by Martin Luther King Jr. Johns was widely known in the black community across the South for his profound scholarship in the classics, his intellect and his highly controversial and outspoken sermons on race relations, which were ahead of his time.[1]

Life[edit source]

Johns was born in Darlington Heights, Prince Edward County, Virginia. Three of his grandparents were slaves. His paternal grandfather had been hanged for killing his master. Johns maternal grandfather was a Mr. Price, a white man. Price had a long-standing relationship with Johns maternal grandmother, and served prison time for killing a white man who tried to rape her. After her mother died, Johns' mother Sallie Price was raised by the white wife of her father, although the fact that he was actually her father was not generally acknowledged.[2]

In 1915, Johns graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary and College.[3] He then attended the Oberlin Seminary, where he studied with classmate Robert M. Hutchins.[4] While at Oberlin, Johns was highly respected by both his classmates and the faculty and was chosen to give the annual student oration. After graduating from Oberlin in 1918, he attended the University of Chicago's graduate school of theology.[5]

After studying at the University of Chicago, Johns moved between various congregations in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In 1926, he was the first African-American to have his work published in Best Sermons of the Year.[6]

In 1927, Johns married Altona Trent. She was a pianist and music teacher who became a professor at what is now Alabama State University. In 1929–33 he was president of Lynchburg's Virginia Theological Seminary and College. He was unable to stabilize the school's finances and was forced to resign. He returned to his family farm for several years and in 1937 Johns was called again as the pastor of First Baptist Church in Charleston, West Virginia. In 1941, Johns returned to Lynchburg as pastor of Court Street Baptist Church, but was quickly forced to resign by the congregation and returned to the farm.[7]

It was due to his wife's connection to ASU that she was able to influence Dexter Avenue Baptist Church to hire Johns as pastor in October 1948.[8] On one occasion, he paid his bus fare and was directed to the back, but refused to sit there and demanded his money back;[9] he ruffled some feathers among his middle-class congregation by selling his farm produce from outside the church building.[10] In May 1953, he was forced to resign as pastor in Montgomery. He returned to his family farm, where he spent the rest of his life.[11]

Vernon Johns died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C. on June 11, 1965 at age 73.

Legacy[edit source]

A television film was made in 1994 called Road to Freedom: The Vernon Johns Story, written by Leslie Lee and Kevin Arkadie, based on an unpublished biography by Henry W. Powell of The Vernon Johns Society. The motion picture was directed by Kenneth Fink and stars James Earl Jones in the title role. Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has long expressed an interest in African-American history, was the film's co-executive producer.[12]

David Anderson Elementary School in Petersburg, Virginia, was renamed Vernon Johns Middle School; in 2009 it became the junior high school for the city school system.[citation needed]

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THIS MOVIE IS THE FIRST OF MANY MOVIES I WILL INCLUDE IN FUTURE POSTS BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT THE "1960S AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT"....I WANT TO  HIGHLIGHT THE HISTORICAL EVENTS OCCURING IN AMERICA AT THE TIME THAT THE 1965 TO 1971 GRADUATES OF THE ORIGINAL L.C. ANDERSON HIGH SCHOOL WERE DEFINITELY BEING IMPACTED BY THESE EVENTS!  THEREFORE, I WILL SEEK MOVIES ABOUT THE "CIVIL RGHTS MOVEMENT" AND "THE VIETNAM WAR"; AS WELL AS, OTHER SIGNIFICANT EVENTS OFTHE LATE 1950s TO THE 1970s!  IN FACT, WE ARE STILL FIGHTING FOR OUR CIVIL RIGHTS!!


CONTINUE STROLLING DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH
THE 1965 L.C. ANDERSON HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS CLASS...








Tags: #austintexas, 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, african history/culture, american history/culture, austintexas, black american history/culture, christianity-religion news, civil rights issues, crime/justice dept., education-teachers issues, i love my family, international/world news, l c anderson high, naacp, political news, texas history/culture
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