On June 20, 1926, Howard University the mecca of black colleges and universities in this nation selected Wyatt Mordecai Johnson to be the first African American who be its University President. One of the greatest educators this nation has ever produced Wyatt Mordecai Johnson was born in Paris, Tennessee in 1890. A lifelong educator, Johnson held degrees from a number of institutions including a 1911 A.B. from Morehouse College and a Doctor of Divinity degree from Howard University. Three years after his graduation from Howard Divinity School he became the first African-American president of that Howard University and remained at the university’s helm for the next thirty-four years.
Dr. Johnson was one of the foremost committed religious leaders this country ever produced. As a matter of fact, it is well known that Dr. Johnson had a profound impact on the philosophical thoughts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was Dr. Johnson who introduced the strategies of Gandhi to Dr. King when King attended a sermon in Philadelphia that featured Wyatt Mordecai Johnson. Dr. Johnson served Howard University until 1960. During that period of time, profound changes took place at HU. The university became the leading institution for developing not only graduates who directed civil rights efforts. It also was the location where those successful strategies were formally initiated especially in Howard University’s School headed by Charlie Houston.
In 1922, Wyatt Mordecai Johnson was selected to be the commencement speaker at Harvard University. It was then that he delivered this speech on "The Faith of the American Negro". Today, in honor of Dr. Johnson, I will bring his profound words to my blog with my voice. So many great black educators have influenced the multitudes of African American today. In his time with us, Dr. Johnson was one of those educators leading the way in forging excellence in our communities. His reach still continues to light a pathway to greatness today. Let's continue to honor Dr. Wyatt Mordecai Johnson's memory by doing our best to assisting our communities to forge continued black excellence each and every day.