The Legacy

Born into a world which judged him for the color of his skin, taught endurance, respect and dedication from birth, Albert Johnson understood the value of opportunities. Many in his generation became disenchanted with society, grew angry and restless, blaming rather than solving problems. Learning to overcome the doubt, hate and ignorance of his day, Mr. Johnson had the courage to step out and build a legacy.

Born in Lawton, Oklahoma not long after statehood, Mr. Johnson learned about life, race, love and hate from his mother and father. His father, a Buffalo Soldier instilled respect and discipline, his mother taught him to love and the meaning of family and community.

A smart young man, Mr. Johnson was afforded opportunities many of his race were not. Caddying for families on the Post golf course, he had the chance to see what life could be, how education and determination could better a life. Working hard at school and sports, he earned a place for himself in Winston Salem State College in North Carolina. Returning home, Mr. Johnson returned to the school which educated him.

For Mr. Johnson, Douglass School was more than a place which educated him, a place which launched his career, rather Douglass was his fate, his destiny. One may wonder if the school herself knew the fate she was creating for Mr. Johnson, perhaps she did. In the school which educated him, created a love for learning and further developed his self-discipline, providing him with confidence, Mr. Johnson launched his career.

Never one to shirk a duty, nor complete a duty halfway, Mr. Johnson created a community within Douglass. Giving both teachers and students pride in their schools, he empowered them to be the best they could be, he challenged them to give more than they thought they could. In this paradoxical world, a world overshadowed by racism, hate and injustice, Mr. Johnson built a world of peace, harmony, and equality. He did this through his belief; take every opportunity presented.

As fate would have it, Mr. Johnson was the man called upon to desegregate Lawton Schools. Rather than seeing this as unfair or political, he saw it as simply placing the best students and teachers where they were needed. Approaching it with the dogmatic stalwartness, Mr. Johnson created a plan and launched it with the simplicity of confidence well-born. Mr. Johnson was handed the opportunity to steer fate, and rather than hesitate or ponder this chance, he simply took it, found the courage to act based on the vision of a better future he had seen years ago when caddying.

The simple wisdom and incredible courage of Mr. Johnson have shaped countless generations, has impacted thousands of lives, has changed what could have been into what is. By following his one simple belief of taking every opportunity presented, he positioned himself for a place among the great leaders of history.

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