From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Johnson, Mildred Bell

(born: 1905  -  died: 1972) Mildred Bell Johnson, an educator and civil rights activist, was the first African American to be elected assistant moderator of the United Church of Christ, in 1963. She pushed for the church to participate in the Civil Rights Movement. Johnson was born in Middlesboro, KY, the daughter of Rev. George W. and Elgatha Bell. She was the wife of Robert C. Johnson and was living in Birmingham, AL, when she was named to the two-year term of assistant moderator.

Mildred Bell was a 1926 education graduate from Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], and after graduating, she moved to Birmingham for a teaching job. She married her husband in 1936. Mildred Johnson served as a representative in the National Council of Churches, 1954-56. She founded the first girl scout troop for African American girls in Alabama and was a girl scout district adviser in Birmingham. The Mildred Bell Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award, of the Cahaba Girl Scout Council is named in her honor. She was the mother of Alma Johnson Powell, the wife of Colin Powell.

For more see "Slave's daughter elected U.C. Assistant Moderator," The Calgary Herald, 07/06/1963, p. 30; "Mrs. Robert C. Johnson...," The Christian, v. 101, issue 52, p. 958; "Mildred Bell Johnson: Deep are the Roots," in Rhetoric, Religion, and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965, by D. W. Houck and D. E. Dixon; E. Hooper, "Foundation in scouting; a reporter's lyrical bent," St. Petersburg Times, 03/12/2003, p. 3B; and the "Mildred Bell Johnson" entry in They Too Call Alabama Home: African American Profiles, 1800-1999, by R. Bailey.

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“Johnson, Mildred Bell,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-11-30 23:17:02