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WSSU remembers alumnus and former trustee Victor Johnson

Former teacher, mentor, school administrator, school board member and Winston-Salem State University alumnus Victor “Vic” Johnson Jr.’61 dies of COVID-19 at age 85.

Johnson, a native of Winston-Salem, NC, spent his life serving his community and advocating for social justice. He was one of 11 African American students from Winston-Salem Teachers College, now WSSU, to participate in the sit-in at the Woolworth’s in Winston-Salem on Feb. 23, 1960. This effort led to Winston-Salem becoming the first Southern city to desegregate its lunch counters.

Dedicated to the education of children in his community, Johnson served on the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Board of Education for over 20 years.

Victor "Vic" Johnson
The city of Winston-Salem honored Victor Johnson'61 by dedicating an intersection to him in 2012.

He was a proud graduate of WSSU, having played both offense and defense on the Rams football team. Johnson is also a past member of the university’s Board of Trustees.

 WSSU, along with Wake Forest University, paid tribute to Johnson and the other sit-in participants last January during a ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the sit-in. Johnson was the only participant present at the ceremony.

WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson shaking hands with Victor Johnson Jr. following a Proclamation of Recognition honoring Johnson. 

WSSU paid tribute to Johnson in a proclamation read at the event:

“Mr. Johnson’s legacy and leadership lives on in our community today. Now, Therefore, be it proclaimed that Winston-Salem State University and Wake Forest University jointly recognize Victor Johnson’s courage, leadership, and significant role in the Civil Rights movement that has shaped our community for the last six decades.”

WSSU recognizes Johnson’s achievements and contributions and considers his passing a great loss to the world.

Students from WSSU pose with Victor Johnson Jr., one of 11 students from Winston-Salem Teachers College to participate in the sit-in at the Woolworth's in Winston-Salem on Feb. 23, 1960. 

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