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Tue, 02.18.1896

Benjamin T. Johnson, Businessman and Administrator born

Benjamin Tanner Johnson

*Benjamin Tanner Johnson was born on this date in 1896. He was a Black businessman, community activist, and administrator.

He was born in Princeton, New Jersey, to John Quincy and Halle Johnson. He graduated from Howard University cum laude in 1919 and received his MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS) in 1921. He was the third African American student to receive an MBA in HBS history. After graduating from HBS, Johnson worked for Roger Babson between 1921 to 1923 at the Babson Institute in Wellesley, Massachusetts as assistant to the treasurer in an accounting capacity.

In 1923, Johnson began work as director of sales and advertising at the Royal Knights Insurance Company of Durham, North Carolina. In 1925, he moved to Canton, Ohio, to work as the executive secretary to the Canton Urban League before settling in New London, Connecticut as a manager for the New England Peoples Finance Company between 1927 to 1934. Johnson left work in the private sector and had stints at the Works Progress Administration as a Connecticut state supervisor and at the Social Security Board as a junior administrative assistant between 1936 and 1938.

In 1939, Johnson Instructed commerce and finance at Howard University while he attended the Calvin Coolidge School of Law. Johnson earned his law degree in 1942 and returned to Boston. He was the state supervisor for the National Youth Administration between 1940-1942 before being appointed the deputy collector of internal revenue from 1943-1947. Johnson left the public sector and established his law practice, where he worked for the remainder of his life. He died on July 3, 1978. 

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