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John Johnson Talk Advance February 2014
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Kentucky's Civil Rights History Subject of Tuesday Night Talk

Posted on Monday, February 03, 2014 [9:55 PM]

John Johnson at MLK Memorial
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive Director John J.Johnson -- pictured
in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. -- will speak Feb. 4.


COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Kentucky's chief civil rights officer will speak Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Lindsey Wilson College.


Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive Director John J. Johnson will speak at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Feb. 4, in W.W. Slider Humanities Center Recital Hall, 155 Blue Raider Drive. His talk is free and open to the public.


Johnson will speak about the commission, its founding and its work over the last half-century. This spring marks a seminal event in the history of the Kentucky civil rights movement.


On March 5, the civil rights community will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the of the  Civil Rights March on Frankfort.


The march -- which included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., former professional baseball player Jackie Robinson, and the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary -- was credited as helping end segregation and helped make Kentucky the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to have a state civil rights law.


The march drew 10,000 people who marched to the Capitol steps to protest discrimination against blacks in restaurants, hotels and other public accommodations.


The march also helped build support for the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and helped result in the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966.


Johnson, 69, has been active in the human rights movement since he was 18. He was one of the youngest presidents of a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People when he was tapped for the position at 19 in his hometown of Franklin, Ky.


Johnson also pushed for integration of city pools, and he led the fight against an effort to name Lawrence A. Rainey the head of Franklin's police department. Rainey was the sheriff of Neshoba County, Miss., where he gained notoriety for his alleged involvement with the deaths and cover-ups of three civil rights workers. An alleged member of the Ku Klux Klan, Rainey was depicted in the 1988 film Mississippi Burning.


Johnson has monitored elections in South Africa; helped oversee funeral arrangements for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks; and helped launch a much-praised NAACP voter-registration drive.


Since 2007, Johnson has led the groundbreaking Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, which has its main offices in Louisville and has the authority to investigate complaints of discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodations, housing and financial transactions, based on race, color, age, gender, nationality, disability, and religion, and in the area of housing, also familial status.

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