Saturday, July 24, 2010
Charles Spurgeon Johnson (July 24, 1893 October 27, 1956) was a distinguished American sociologist, first black president of historically black Fisk University, and a lifelong advocate for racial equality and the advancement of civil rights for African Americans and all other ethnic minorities. He preferred to work in coalition with liberal white groups in the South quietly as a "sidelines activist" concerned to get practical results. His position is often contrasted with that of the towering figure in this field, W.E.B. DuBois, who was a powerful and militant advocate for his people and who described Johnson as "too conservative." But this contrast should be seen in the context of the 1930s and 1940s, with complete segregation and fierce discrimination pervading the South. He was angry and unwavering in personal terms in his opposition to this oppressive system yet hoped he had the strategy to significantly change race relations in terms of the short term practical gains.
Read Seasons in Hell: Charles S. Johnson and the 1930 Liberian Labor Crisis, a doctoral thesis by Philip James Johnson, free from Louisiana State University.