MICHAEL EUGENE JOHNSON
Class of 1974
Michael’s activism began at the tender age of 7 when he participated in the historic “Firecracker Demonstration”, on July 4th 1963. His small young hands joined clergy and national civil rights organizations including the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the NAACP to protest Gwynn Oak Park’s discriminatory practices. During this racially charged "fireworks" demonstration, 283 were arrested, including children. As a high school leader Michael was unanimously selected by his peers of the Baltimore City Student Leadership Council to present their concerns about the Public School Teachers Strike in 1974. Before an audience of the Mayor and Baltimore City Council, then 17 years old Michael gave a passionate speech on education that earned him front page articles in both of Baltimore’s daily newspapers and the lead story on three local television news stations.
As a student leader at the University of Maryland College Park where he majored in Radio, Television and Film he continued to fight for student and human rights on campus and the disinvestment of funds from the University of Maryland’s from South Africa because of the law of apartheid. Transferring to Morgan State University as a Speech Communications Major, Michael “cool” voice could be heard daily on WEAA 88.9FM.
Joining Corporate America as a National Government and Public Affairs Director for the 8th largest Outdoor Advertising Company in America, Michael still found time to pursue his passion, African American Cinema. He opened Heritage Cinemas USA, his company was feature by “CBS EYE ON AMERICA” and US News & World Report magazine as one of the nation’s first independently owned cinemas providing African American film makers a place to screen their work. Michael received the “NAACP Economic Success & Diversity Award” for his cultural work on preserving images of the African American Cinema.
Michael was awarded the WJZ TV 13 “Image Award” for opening a free urban summer camp for over 200 children. Michael received a special Mid Atlantic American Red Cross “HOME TOWN HERO Award” presented to him by NFL Hall of Famer Lenny Moore after he spent 57 days in the Gulf helping victims after “Hurricane KATRINA”. Michael also served as a Cultural and Political commentator for ABC WMAR Channel 2’s Dan Roderick Show.
Today Michael Eugene Johnson is the Founder and Executive Director of the PAUL ROBESON INSTITUTE. Michael the youngest of 11 children, a very proud father of a daughter Nichelle who is a Baltimore Public School administrator, a West Baltimore resident and a provocative public activist who believes…… “LEARN FIRST TO SHOW PITY AT HOME”
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