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Hope in the Struggle

A Memoir

2019
Author:

Josie Robinson Johnson
With Carolyn Lee Holbrook and Arleta Marie Little

Hope in the Struggle

How a Black woman from Texas became one of the most well-known civil rights activists in Minnesota, detailing seven remarkable decades of fighting for fairness in voting, housing, education, and employment

A memoir about shouldering the cause of social justice during the darkest hours and brightest moments for civil rights in America—and, specifically, in Minnesota—Hope in the Struggle shines light on the difference one person can make. For Josie Johnson, this has meant making a difference as a Black woman in one of the nation’s whitest states.

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

Why do you continue to work on issues of justice? young Black people ask Josie Johnson today, then, perhaps in the same breath, How do you maintain hope? This book, a lifetime in the making, is Josie’s answer. A memoir about shouldering the cause of social justice during the darkest hours and brightest moments for civil rights in America—and, specifically, in Minnesota—Hope in the StruggleHope in the Struggle is a uniquely inspiring life story for these current dark and divisive times, a testament to how one determined soul can make the world a better place.

Hope in the Struggle

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journeys

Hope in the Struggle

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

Her book is a who's who of Minnesota luminaries, black and white. So much so that it sometimes reads as if she's afraid to leave out anyone. Because it is written at some remove, the moments where Johnson reveals personal loss and trauma, such as the dissolution of her marriage, let me see her as I rarely did: vulnerable.

StarTribune