A head and shoulders portrait of Henriette Windham Johnson from the 1951 Monroe High School Bulldog, yearbook. Learn more »
Henrietta Windham Johnson was an educator and civil rights activist in Monroe, and was active in the Monroe branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) during the 1920s and 1930s. She was also a teacher in the Monroe public school system for more than fifty years.
Born in Rayville on November 15, 1876, she attended the Wisner School in Franklin Parish. At the age of fourteen, she enrolled in Leland University in New Orleans, a private institution of higher learning for African Americans. While at Leland, she earned a teaching certificate. After graduating with honors in 1895, she returned to Wisner School as a teacher. In 1901, she married Arthur Herbert Johnson, the principal of Wisner School.
Johnson was active in the Zion Traveler Baptist Church in Monroe, where she was a pianist, choral leader, and treasurer. As the director of the Baptist Training Union, she organized annual religious education programs. Johnson was president of the board of directors of the 10th District Baptist Association’s Women’s Department.
During the late 1920s and 1930s, Johnson was active in the Monroe branch of the NAACP. She became a branch executive committee member in 1932 and held the elected post of vice-president from 1936 to 1938. She also headed committees to raise funds for the national NAACP and spearheaded a membership drive organized by the women’s division.
In 1939, Johnson organized a National Youth Association school in Monroe for unemployed young women. The school was modeled on those operated by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Projects Administration during the Great Depression. During the 1930s, she also organized the building of a school, in which young people learned vocational skills.
Though the exact date of her death is unknown, a recreation center in Monroe there was dedicated to her memory in 1962.
Cite This Entry
Chicago Manual of Style
Sartain, Lee. "Henrietta Windham Johnson." In KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010–. Article published December 22, 2010. http://www.knowla.org/entry/864/.
Sartain, Lee. "Henrietta Windham Johnson." KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 22 Dec 2010. Web. 17 Jan. 2017.
Would you like to learn more about this topic from books and other reading materials?
Fairclough, Adam. Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915−1972. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995.
Sartain, Lee. Invisible Activists: Women of the Louisiana NAACP and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1915−1945. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007.