|Title:||Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 016 Leroy Johnson|
|Creator||Johnson, Leroy Reginald, 1928-|
|Dates||2007 February 27|
|Repository||Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies|
|Abstract||Leroy Reginald Johnson was born in Atlanta, Georgia on July 28, 1928. He attended Morehouse College, worked in the Fulton County Solicitor-General’s office, and served as a Georgia senator from 1963-1975, becoming the first black legislator in the General Assembly since 1907. In this interview Johnson discusses his career in the Georgia senate. He addresses his rise to chair of the Judiciary Committee, his efforts to desegregate the capitol and appoint black officials, and his relationships with his fellow senators. Johnson also covers his formative years at Morehouse College taking guidance from its president, Benjamin Mays. Other topics include his unsuccessful run for mayor of Atlanta and his efforts to stage a Muhammad Ali-Jerry Quarry boxing match in the city.|
Reflections on Georgia Politics began in the fall of 2006 at Young Harris College, as a lecture and discussion program hosted by Georgia political veteran Bob Short. In late 2007, the Richard B. Russell Library began producing the program as an oral history video series to further illuminate and personalize the tectonic shifts that occurred in Georgia politics in the late twentieth century.
Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 016, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.
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Leroy Reginald Johnson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 28, 1928. He earned a bachelor's degree from Morehouse College and a master's degree from Atlanta University in 1951. He taught social science in Atlanta public schools from 1950 to 1954, before he decided to obtain a law degree from North Carolina Central University in 1957. In 1957, Johnson became the first African-American to be hired by the Fulton County solicitor general's office. He worked as a criminal investigator from 1957 to 1962. Georgia's county unit system was overturned in 1962, and that resulted in a predominately African-American Fulton County senate district. Johnson won the seat in 1962, making him the first African-American in the legislature since 1907, rising to chair the Judiciary Committee. In 1970, Johnson helped to stage a boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Jerry Quarry in Atlanta, which saw Ali reclaim the title of heavyweight champion. Johnson ran unsuccessfully in 1973 and 1974 for mayor of Atlanta. For several years, he was executive director of the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, stepping down in 1987. Johnson's portrait was hung, in 1996, on the third floor of the state capitol near the senate chamber, where he served for twelve years. During the 2000 legislative session, the senate unanimously passed a resolution renaming a portion of Fulton Industrial Boulevard as Leroy Johnson–Fulton Industrial Boulevard.
In this interview Leroy Johnson discusses his career in the Georgia senate beginning in 1963. He addresses his rise to chair of the Judiciary Committee, his efforts to desegregate the capitol and appoint black officials, and his relationships with his fellow senators. Johnson also covers his formative years at Morehouse College where he received guidance from Morehouse president Benjamin Mays. Other topics include his unsuccessful run for mayor of Atlanta and his efforts to stage a Muhammad Ali-Jerry Quarry boxing match in the city.