Joyce Hobson Johnson



Joyce Johnson’s activism began as a high school student in Richmond, VA during the 1960s struggle for civil rights and open accommodations. She deepened her involvement in college as one of the earlier black students at Duke University and while supporting campus non-academic employees and the movement for relevant education. A former university professor and research director, Joyce is currently Director of the Jubilee Institute, a community-based leadership development and training entity. Joyce assisted the Beloved Community Center of Greensboro (BCC) in developing the Jubilee Institute to provide institutional support, social and political analysis, training, and leadership development for the broad-based progressive movement in that city. Joyce also serves on the North Carolina NAACP State Executive Board, the Guilford Education Alliance Board, and the Faith Community Church Council.

Though officially “retired,” Joyce, the BCC and the Greensboro Justice Fund joined with other Greensboro residents in 2001 to establish
the pace-setting Truth and Community Reconciliation Project. Modeled after the South African process and other international efforts, this initiative is designed to encourage truth, understanding, and healing throughout Greensboro related to the tragic murder of five labor and racial justice organizers by Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party members on November 3, 1979. Joyce and her husband, the Rev. Nelson N. Johnson, play a leading role in this ground-breaking model for community problem-solving. The Johnsons were recognized for their work in 2005 by both the prestigious Ford Foundation “Leadership for a Changing World Award” and by the Faith and Politics Institute of Washington, DC “Beloved Community Award.” In 2008 the couple received the “Purpose Prize Award” from Civic Ventures of Palo Alto, California and the “Defenders of Justice Award” from the North Carolina Justice Center of Raleigh. In 2009, they were recognized by the Association for Conflict Resolution as recipients of the “Diversity and Equity Award.”



In her community and church, Joyce has been active in a myriad of grassroots efforts to improve housing, employment practices, education, healthcare, women’s issues and support for African liberation struggles. Organizational affiliations have included the Afro American Society at Duke University (founding member and Co-Chair), Black Student Movement at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU), the African World Newspaper, the National Black Political Party, the Voter Education Project, the NAACP, the Coalition to Free the Wilmington 10, the African Liberation Support Committee, the Greensboro Association of Poor People, the Citizens Committee Against Police Brutality, the Southern Faith, Labor and Community Alliance, and
the Beloved Community Center of Greensboro.

In conjunction with her husband, Joyce has dedicated almost 40 years to bringing about significant social and economic changes in Greensboro, NC and throughout the United States. The Johnsons have two adult daughters, Akua Johnson-Matherson, a university administrator, and Ayo Johnson, a registered nurse and certified recreational therapist. They are also the proud grandparents of four grandchildren, Nia, Imani, Alise, and Nelson Josiah.

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