Bishop Johnson History Project

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“Every time we choose the difficult right rather than the easy wrong, we gain our lives.”

       – Bishop Joseph A. Johnson, Jr., The Soul of the Black Preacher

The Bishop Joseph Johnson History Project is dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of Bishop Joseph Andrew Johnson, Jr, the first African American to be admitted and to graduate from Vanderbilt University (B.D., 1954), to receive a PhD from the University (1958), and to become a full member of the Vanderbilt University Board of  Trust.The Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University honors his legacy.

Bishop Johnson was also the 34th  bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and former president of Philips School of Theology. [Click here for full bio.]

Founded by his granddaughter, Rev. Cynthia Johnson-Oliver, the History Project exists to preserve the oral history and papers of Bishop Johnson and to meet the continuing demand for his books, sermons, and papers that persists over 30 years after his death.

Rev. Johnson-Oliver is writing a biography of Bishop Johnson and is currently conducting interviews for this project. Click here to schedule an interview or share your memories of Bishop Johnson.

For more information, visit