Hope in the Struggle: A Memoir

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$16.95  $15.76
University of Minnesota Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.2 X 0.8 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Born in 1930 in San Antonio, Texas, Josie R. Johnson has been an educator, activist, and public servant for more than seven decades. Along with her work for the Urban League and the University of Minnesota, she has been office manager, campaign manager, and chief of staff for multiple political campaigns and public officials, including campaign manager for the first African American lieutenant governor of Colorado, and co-chair of the African American DFL Caucus in Minnesota. She holds degrees in sociology, education, and education administration. She lives in Minneapolis and continues to serve her community, advocating for equal rights and social justice.

Carolyn Holbrook is a writer, educator, and former program director of the Loft Literary Center. She teaches creative writing at Hamline University and is author of Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journeys, which profiles twenty community leaders and programs made possible by Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods. In 2010 she received the prestigious Kay Sexton Award presented by Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.

Arleta Little is director of Artist Fellowships for the McKnight Foundation. Prior to working in philanthropy, she was executive director of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature.


"Josie R. Johnson has always been a champion of fairness and decency, and this book shows us that while there is still work to be done, with her help, there will always be hope."--Walter Mondale

"Like other institutions, like our society, like human life itself, universities are based on hope--on the belief that a struggle is worth it and that it can, and will, be won. Once in a while, someone comes along to help a university define hope in the midst of struggle. Dr. Josie Johnson, my admired colleague Josie, helped teach a generation of us at the University of Minnesota that the struggle for human and civil rights is worth it and that it can--and will--be won. Yes, she always taught us that there is 'hope in the struggle'!"--Nils Hasselmo, former president, University of Minnesota

"Dr. Josie Johnson's memoir poignantly captures nearly sixty years of the struggle for Civil Rights between 1950 and the election of President Barak Obama in 2008. Written from the perspective of a community activist, parent, scholar, and university administrator, Johnson has articulated well the issues confronting the movement for social justice in the United States. The breadth of her political contacts and the impact of her life's work are breathtaking. This is a must read for those interested in American social history."--David Vassar Taylor, former dean, General College of the University of Minnesota

"This is a must read for civil rights historians, public policy practitioners, women advocates, and anyone looking to be inspired. It chronicles Josie Johnson's lifelong commitment to the struggle of the Black community to triumph over racism and discrimination. She gives us a more intimate understanding of the motivation behind her courageous work in Mississippi, at the Urban League in north Minneapolis, and at the University of Minnesota. Hope in the Struggle reminds us of the power of faith, the promise of hope, and the resilience that stems from love. Thank you, 'Mama Josie, ' for sharing your love of family and community with all of us."--Sharon Sayles Belton, former mayor of Minneapolis

"Johnson tells the city's history, from the early 1950s until now, by placing its tiny but vibrant black community at the center. This is a memoir of Minneapolis. That it is told by an African-American woman makes it rare and necessary. That she is not afraid to identify and call out the ways in which white supremacy excluded black people from their full rights as Minnesotans--from exclusionary housing covenants to employment discrimination--is important. It's a book that might help newcomers understand the city's racial history and one that long-timers might find revelatory."--Star Tribune

"Johnson's memoir covers a lot of difficult territory, but one thing rings clear throughout: She has met these myriad challenges and difficulties with intelligence, energy, and hope."--Minnesota Alumni

"Josie Johnson. The term 'living legend' might well understate her stature in the community. She is a beloved lady with a warmhearted smile and serious political clout who has made history."--Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

"This inspiring memoir describes how one person, a black woman from Texas, has made a difference in one of the whitest states in the country."--Minnesota History

"A captivating book that explores the history of racial inequality in the United States."--The Corresponder