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Makers of contemporary black history: Part II The Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson
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The following is the second of a four-part series on local African-Americans who are making positive contributions to their community. Part 3 will be published in Friday's Viewpoints page.

Delving into history books and other sources reveals the extraordinary achievements of black Americans.

Research discovers that Madame C.J. Walker created hair products especially designed to enhance the hair of black women. Harriet Tubman was conductor of the Underground Railroad and led more than 100 slaves to freedom. Thurgood Marshall was the first black Supreme Court justice. Dr. Mary McCleod Bethune, the founder of the school that today is known as Bethune-Cookman University, became an important leader in higher education in Florida.

We relish and are proud of their achievements and the impact they have had on the American people.

The development of events and opportunities that impact a society begins when individuals commence their journey through life touching the lives of people in their society. In Bulloch County, there are several individuals in the community who have begun to have their impact on society. They are not only significant achievers because of their "firstness," but because of the importance of their contributions.

Long before becoming an attorney or even pursuing formal academic studies of Christianity, civil rights and the law, the Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson appeared to innately believe that the three could be consolidated to make for an equitable society for all mankind. Since graduating from Screven County High School and earning a bachelor's degree from Georgia Southern University and a juris doctorate from the University of Georgia, he has attained monumental status in Georgia as a civil rights advocate. He was elected president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP. He is the youngest person ever to achieve such a status in the state organization.

His preparation for this position commenced, in some respects, when he was elected and served as president of the Student Government Association at GSU. He served as president of the Georgia Southern Chapter of the NAACP while simultaneously working with the organization's Bulloch County Branch. As a result of his work with the civil rights group, he went to work for America's premier health advocacy organization, the American Heart Association, as the vice president of cultural health initiatives. There, Johnson developed effective strategies to overcome the social injustices of racial, ethnic and gender health disparities and strengthen diversity within its operations.

He seeks to further enlighten public views on race, equality and gender through his lectures and writing. He has served on the political science and criminal justice faculties of Georgia Southern and Savannah State University.

Exemplifying his Christian faith, Johnson preaches love of mankind, equality and gender equity from the pulpits of several churches in the area. He is the senior minister at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Pembroke and Magnolia Missionary Baptist Church in Statesboro. Combining a passion for serving people through law, education and faith, Francys Johnson is called to "serve this present age."

Dr. Charles W. Bonds is a former Bulloch County school board member and retired Georgia Southern University professor.


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