History Revealed: Hope In the Struggle

History Revealed: Hope In the Struggle
Dr. Josie Johnson & Tish Jones

Hope In the Struggle
A Conversation with Dr. Josie Johnson and Tish Jones

History Revealed Series
Program Date: February 23, 2021
Video on YouTube

In partnership with the East Side Freedom Library and the Roseville Library

How did a Black woman from Texas become one of the most well-known civil right activists in Minnesota? After seven decades of speaking up and standing up, of fighting for fairness in voting, housing, education, and employment, Dr. Josie Johnson has finally written her memoir. Hope in the Struggle gives us an opportunity to not only learn about her, but to learn from her.

Dr. Johnson’s story began in segregated Texas, where her father organized against the Poll Tax, launching her on a lifetime of activism which brought her to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, where she cast her vote for Barack Obama for president Her memoir offers a close-up picture of what that struggle has entailed, whether working as a community organizer for the Minneapolis Urban League or lobbying for fair housing and employment laws, investigating civil rights abuses or co-chairing the Minnesota delegation to the March on Washington, becoming the first African American to serve on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents or creating the university’s Office of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs with a focus on minority affairs and diversity. An intimate view of civil rights history in the making, Hope in the Struggle is a uniquely inspiring life story for these current dark and divisive times, a testament to how one determined soul can make the world a better place.

ESFL and RCHS are pleased to present Dr. Johnson in conversation with an activist from a younger generation, Tish Jones. A poet, organizer, and educator from St. Paul, Ms. Jones is Founder & Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks, and she has had an impact on artist-activists from coast to coast. She has performed at The Walker Art Center, Intermedia Arts, The Cedar Cultural Center and more. Ms. Jones’ work can be found in the Minnesota Humanities Center’ anthology, Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015), the 2011 and 2013 Saint Paul Almanac, the Loft Literary Center’s Nation of Immigrants audio CD highlighting the voices of their longstanding Equilibrium Spoken Word Series, and many more spaces.