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Johnson, Dorothy (January 21, 1916-July 7, 2004)



  • Existence: January 21, 1916 - July 7, 2004


Dorothy H. Johnson was a Black social worker, civil rights leader, journalist, and mental health advocate. Born in Kansas City, Kansas on January 21, 1916, Johnson attended Sumner High School, where her father, John A. Hodge was principal. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism (1937) and a master’s degree in social work (1960), both from the University of Kansas. Among the various roles she held throughout her career were Journalist for the Kansas City Call, Director of the Department of Health and Welfare for Jackson County, Public Relations Secretary for the Urban League of Kansas City, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Medicine, and as a research associate and consultant for the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Foundation. Dorothy Johnson received numerous honors and awards for her work from organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers, the Mid-America Regional Council, The Central Exchange, and in 2009, a UMKC residence hall was dedicated in her name alongside that of her late husband, Herman A. Johnson.

Throughout her life Johnson was also an avid geneologist, compiling dozens of files of information from both sides of her family. Of particular note are files on: her father, John A. Hodge, a principal at Sumner High School; her first husband Dowdal H. Davis, a police commissioner and journalist for the Kansas City Call; her aunt Byrdie D. Jackson, an elementary educator; and her uncle Luther P. Jackson, a choral director and music educator, among many others. All in all, her research contextualizes approximately two dozen individual family members across three families spanning 99 years. In 2015, Johnson was inducted into the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame. Johnson died on July 7, 2004 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Dorothy Johnson Collection

Identifier: MS-0308
Scope and Contents The Dorothy Johnson Collection was donated to LaBudde Special Collections in February of 2017 by Tara Johnson. It includes newspapers and clippings, memoranda, correspondence, certificates, photographs, research and reference materials, memorabilia, photographs, and other materials related to Johnson’s life, family history, work, research, political and organization involvement, and activism. Of note are materials related to the 1959 protests for desegregation of Kansas City department...
Dates: 1890s - 2009

Herman Johnson Collection

Identifier: MS-0316
Scope and Contents The Herman Johnson Collection was donated to LaBudde Special Collections in February of 2017 by Tara Johnson. It includes documents, correspondence, news clippings, awards, photographs, and other materials related to Johnson’s professional and political careers, including his work with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Missouri House of Representatives. Of note are the documents related to the Missouri House of...
Dates: 1914 - 2007