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lorraine ragsdale johnson
Class of 1959
Lorraine Ragsdale Johnson, a former writer for Gratz High's newsletter, has led for 3 years groups of teenagers on Freedom Rides. These "rides" were to familiarize the teens (14-17) with the life of the Late Dr Martin Luther King. The young people, directed by Lorraine and 5 counselors visited and participated in civil rights workshops, marched over bridges, saw the place of King' s death by the assassin in Memphis TN, as well as his birth and ministry in Atlanta, GA. This group also visited Dr. King's first church where he pastored, Dexter Av. Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. Also included in their trip were visits to the college campuses of Morehouse College as well as Spelman College. They stayed overnight on the campus of Alabama State University as their guest. THe group met with members of the original Freedom RIders, who helped break the color barriers in the south. The youth group, under the leadership of Ms. Johnson, represented Philadelphia's Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Non-Violence. Ms. Ragsdale Johnson is the mother of adult children, Steven, Sharon and Ernest, Jr. Her former husband is deceased. Lorraine still enjoys writing, and loves action and learning new things. She recently retired from Philadelphia's Temple University after 23 years of service as an Assistant Administrator.