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Mon, 07.24.1893

Charles S. Johnson, innovative sociologist

Charles S.Johnson

This date marks the birth of Charles Spurgeon Johnson in 1893. He was an African American sociologist, and authority on race relations.

Johnson was from in Bristol, Virginia and graduated from Virginia Union University in Richmond. He studied under the sociologist Robert Ezra Park at the University of Chicago and then worked for the Chicago Commission on Race Relations from1919 to 1921. His first significant writing, The Negro in Chicago (1922), was a sociological study of the race riot in that city in 1919.  From 1923-28, he founded and edited the intellectual magazine Opportunity, a major voice of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. After directing research for the National Urban League, he served as chairman of the social sciences department at Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee, and became their first Black president from 1946 to 56.

After World War II, he helped to plan the reorganization of the Japanese educational system.  In writing Growing Up in the Black Belt (1941), Johnson denied the common assertion that U.S. race relations constitute a true Caste system; he pointed out that the status of the Negro in American society did not have universal acquiescence or a religious basis. Among his other books are "The Negro in American Civilization" (1930), "The Negro College Graduate" (1936), and "Patterns of Negro Segregation" (1943).

He died on October 27, 1956 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The African American Desk Reference
Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture
Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and
The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.
ISBN 0-471-23924-0

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