July 23, 1999
Haleyville native Frank M. Johnson Jr. made landmark rulings concerning civil rights while serving as a federal judge. Some of his most famous decisions include desegregating Alabama, eliminating the state poll tax and authorizing the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Martin Luther King Jr. once called Johnson “the man who gave true meaning to the word justice.” In 1992, Congress named the federal courthouse in Montgomery after him. He died on July 23, 1999, in Montgomery.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Frank M. Johnson graduated law school at the University of Alabama in 1943, where he befriended future Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace. Johnson was wounded in action as a soldier in Europe in World War II, and later defended enlisted men in court against charges of brutality, by exposing orders given them by senior officers. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of The Birmingham News.)
Frank M. Johnson Jr. (1918-1999) was a federal judge whose legal decisions moved the civil rights movement forward in Alabama. His rulings led to desegregation of public places and equal opportunities for African-Americans, and he authorized the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. He decided cases leading to improvements in mental health care in the state. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of University of Alabama W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.)
Federal Judge Frank M. Johnson shown with former Alabama Attorney General and Lt. Gov. Bill Baxley, left, and former Gov. James E. “Big Jim” Folsom. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History.)
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