NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson will be the guest speaker during the Florida A&M University (FAMU) annual Martin Luther King Jr., Convocation on Thursday, January 16, 2020. The Convocation will be held 10:10 a.m. to noon in the Gaither Gymnasium, 1835 Wahnish Way. The event is open to the public.
An attorney and veteran civil rights activist, Johnson has served as head of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization since 2017. Before that, the Detroit native was vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors as well as president of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference.
“It’s an honor to have President Derrick Johnson address the FAMU community. FAMU continues to play an integral role in the advancement of civil rights and President Johnson is playing a key role in taking the movement forward,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “We are certain that our students, faculty, staff and all who hear him will be inspired by his words and his story.”
Johnson has dedicated his career to defending the rights and improving the lives of Mississippians. As president of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, he led critical campaigns for voting rights and equitable education.
Johnson successfully managed two bond referendum campaigns in Jackson, Mississippi, that brought $150 million in school building improvements and $65 million toward the construction of a new convention center. As a regional organizer at the Jackson-based non-profit, Southern Echo, Inc., Johnson provided legal, technical, and training support for communities across the South.
In recognition of his service to the state of Mississippi, the chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court appointed Johnson to the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, and the Mississippi governor appointed him chair of the Governor’s Commission for Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
In the wake of the 2005 storm, Johnson founded One Voice Inc. to improve the quality of life for African Americans through civic engagement training and initiatives. One Voice has spawned an annual Black Leadership Summit and the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute, a nine-month training program for community leaders.
A graduate of Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, Johnson earned a law degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston. He has served as an annual guest lecturer at Harvard Law School and as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Tougaloo College.