Skip to main content

Bishop Joseph Johnson

Posted by on Thursday, February 7, 2019 in Uncategorized.

Image of Bishop Joseph Johnson
Bishop Joseph Johnson

Portrait Details:

Artist: Simmie Knox

Year: 2018

Current Location: Kirkland Hall


Accepted to the Vanderbilt School of Religion in 1953 (renamed Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1956), Joseph Johnson was the first African American to graduate from Vanderbilt when he received a bachelor of divinity in 1954. He was also the first African American to earn a doctorate from Vanderbilt, graduating in 1958. He became a professor of religion at Fisk University and was elected the 34th bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1966. In 1971, he was elected to Vanderbilt University’s Board of Trust, on which he served until his death in 1979. The Vanderbilt Black Cultural Center was dedicated in his honor in 1984. In 2014, Johnson was honored by the Divinity School with its Distinguished Alumni/ae Award.

Additional recognitions, awards and news

BIshop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center Biography Page

Vanderbilt Divinity School Distinguished Alumni/ae Award Recipient

Vanderbilt Celebrating Change Page

The Bishop Joseph Johnson History Project

Photos of Bishop Joseph Johnson

This slideshow requires JavaScript.