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So far Lloyd Johnson has created 32 blog entries.

10. The Threshold of High School

By |2021-03-22T02:55:38+00:00January 21st, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

My Truth: My Journey Toward Servant Leadership   THE ENGLISH HIGH SCHOOL   Boston’s English High School (EHS) was huge, with a 2,000-plus, all-boys student body from every one of the city’s ethnic neighborhoods: East Boston (Italian), Dorchester (Irish), South End (Black), South Boston or “Southie” (also Irish), Roxbury/Mattapan (Jewish), and so forth. From my jr. high school, seven  of us went to EHS ; a few other entering 10th grade students transferred in from Boston Latin School for sundry reasons.    The school was then on Montgomery Street in Boston’s South End. There were relatively few Black students at EHS – 30 of of us among over 600 students in my graduation class. Other than us Black students, there wasn’t another Black face to be seen at EHS. The entire administrative, clerical, janitorial, [...]

11. Lasting Friendships

By |2021-03-22T02:56:36+00:00January 20th, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

My Truth: My Journey to Servant Leadership    THE SPARTANS & LASTING FRIENDSHIPS  Jimmy Galloway1949 Jimmy Galloway, another Black kid from The Hill, and I became fast friends as we rode the trolley to and from English High School.  We especially liked our route to school because it was also taken by girls attending the nearby Girls High School. We wanted to flirt with them, but at 14-years-old, we really didn’t know what to say. That would come later.    I hung out with Jimmy and his younger brother, “Junnie” or “OG”, after school. [...]

12. Meanwhile, Back at Home

By |2021-03-22T02:59:35+00:00January 19th, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

A DOWNWARD SPIRAL  At home, in the fall of 1948, a confluence of of events, in no particular order, contributed to an increasingly dysfunctional family situation and the disintegration of my world.   First, Ma, despite the steady rental income from the two tenants in our triple-decker apartment building on Walnut Park, might have been struggling to maintain our home on her low salary as an attendant at Boston State Hospital. But, for reasons that totally escape me, she sold the income-producing building to Calvin, pocketed the proceeds, and moved Eleanor and me with her into Aunt Edith’s crowded one-bedroom apartment on nearby Gannett Street. (Calvin eventually lost the [...]

13. Transition,Secrets & Misplaced Loyalties  

By |2021-03-22T03:00:49+00:00January 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|

 In January 1949, soon after Ma moved to Brooklyn, New York with my sister, Eleanor, she found employment at a hospital for the mentally ill. Then, a month or so before I graduated from Boston’s English High School (EHS)she purchased a brownstone house at 669 Park Place in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Eleanor enrolled in a nursing school, where she earned her certificate as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Calvin served the entire nine months of his sentence at the  Deer Island House of Correction for stabbing his former wife, never expressing remorse for his conduct.   In the weeks leading up to my relocation to Brooklyn, I was apprehensive, to say the least, about my future. I didn’t want to leave my lifelong friends and familiar Roxbury surroundings. How would I adapt to the unknown and uncertainties of life in Brooklyn.  Ma earnestly, but unconvincingly, tried to portray Brooklyn in a positive light, telling me, “It’s just like Boston.”  and “You’ll love our new home.”   I wasn't at all persuaded that Brooklyn would, in effect, be my Promised Land.  Her words left [...]

14. Summer of 1949

By |2021-03-22T03:01:46+00:00January 17th, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

My Truth: My Journey Toward Servant Leadership    Situated between Bedford and Franklin Avenues in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, our new home at 669 Park Place was a converted two-family home, including what I later learned was an illegal one-bedroom apartment on the top floor. Tenants, customary in those days, were necessary to help Ma to meet the expenses of our new home. But unlike my childhood home on Linwood Square, in Roxbury, MA, these tenants were not family members or friends, but total strangers, referred by a local realtor.   Transportation-wise, my new home had several distinct advantages  We were steps away from the Franklin Avenue Shuttle which provided easy access to the IND’s  “A” train, going directly into Manhattan. The IRT’s [...]

15. The Mecca

By |2021-03-22T03:03:26+00:00January 16th, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

WELCOME  Racism was my introduction to Washington, D.C., my nation’s capital. Arriving by train at the cavernous Union Station in early September 1949, I had all my worldly belongings in a single suitcase. It was an unseasonably warm, sunny day outside and I easily found my way to the taxicab stand to begin the newest chapter of my life at the Mecca for Black college students, Howard University.   There were two lines at the cab stand and, of course, I chose the shorter one – only to be told by the white dispatcher that, “your line” (AKA the line for Black people) was the longer line off to the side. He said it as casually as if he was directing me to the local post office. I was shocked and humiliated by this overtly discriminatory statement. He was so matter-of-fact. Racial segregation, I quickly realized, was an integral part of life [...]

16. Big Mistake and Reckoning

By |2021-03-22T03:04:23+00:00January 15th, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

  I had bad vibes about Howard University’s College of Pharmacy (COP) almost from the moment I sat in my first class. Physically, the College was situated in the “Valley,” Howard’s medical complex, four or five blocks downhill from Howard’s main campus. It was surrounded by the colleges of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, and the former Freedman’s Hospital.   The other pharmacy students in my entering first-year class all seemed older, more mature, businesslike than me, and many were using the educational benefits of the GI Bill.  The overall atmosphere of the COP was dry and somber, unlike the fun-filled atmosphere of Cook Hall and the main campus. It was also a much longer walk to class, especially in inclement weather.   In COP, we weren’t called “freshmen”; we were called “first years” because most of the class of 30 or so had previously completed one or two years of undergraduate study, enabling them to focus on their pharmacy courses.   [...]


By |2021-03-22T03:05:29+00:00January 14th, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

RETURN TO CAMPUS  I returned to Howard’s campus in the fall of 1951 armed with a newly-discovered sense of purpose. I was determined to complete my college education. It didn’t bother me that I was a returning third-year student among newly-admitted freshmen, most of whom were my age -- 19. The kid who started school at age 4 was finally among college students his own age.    Clarke Hall, a decrepit, wood-frame building (later demolished), was the newly-designated dormitory for upperclass undergraduate male students. It faced south overlooking the main campus. My roommate was my good friend and fellow Bamboola, Herb Hannahs, from Evanston, Illinois.    Herb, now a junior, and I became confidantes. He was a good example for me. He was diligent with his studies (sociology), though not wonkish, and was adept at working the angles – the legal ones -- to his [...]

18. Who Killed Michael Farmer? 

By |2021-03-22T03:06:35+00:00January 13th, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

 GRAD SCHOOL & WORLD OF WORK  I wasn’t at all surprised that Adelphi University was the polar opposite of Howard. It was situated in Garden City, New York, a wealthy, white, suburban community, and, other than the School of Social Work,  its student body was predictably almost entirely white. I wasn’t distracted by the demographics. I knew it beforehand and was there for one reason: Earn the master’s degree. I was focused and empowered.     Remember, this was a joint sociology/social work program. I had a great relationship with my sociology faculty advisor, but I was increasingly drawn to the School of Social Work’s training in direct services to marginalized people. Graduate social work education, then and now, consists of three weekdays of field work training in a reputable social agency under the close supervision of an experienced graduate social worker, with the other two days spent in the classroom.   My field work assignment was to assist adjudicated [...]

19. Accountability & All in for Equality

By |2021-03-22T03:07:37+00:00January 12th, 2021|Lloyd Johnson|

ACCOUNTABILITY    Any expectation that after two stints in jail, my older brother had left his violent criminal behavior behind him were for naught in May 1959.   Late in 1958, Calvin’s second wife executed a carefully choreographed plan and left him for parts unknown because of his long-term abuse. She and I had had a close relationship, and I never for a millisecond doubted her when she finally told me about his abusive behavior. Like so many such victims, she had kept his abuse to herself for many years.   In the early evening of Saturday, May 31, 1959, Calvin burst into her brother’s home and murdered him, shooting him six times before his mother, wife, and child. We never learned specifically what had motivated this horrific killing. Calvin was seriously wounded by the police in the course of his arrest, survived and was tried convicted, and sentenced to 40 years to life imprisonment. The sentence was reduced on appeal to 20 years to life, almost all [...]