If you have one more road to cross, Victor Johnson will extend his hand

Victor Johnson, left, talks to Busta Brown. Photo by Busta Brown

If you have one more road to cross, Victor Johnson will extend his hand
January 24
14:27 2018

By Busta Brown
The Chronicle

“I’ve always felt that I had one more road to cross, that’s always been my motto,” said Winston-Salem community and civil rights activist Victor Johnson.

Johnson was instrumental in organizing the Winston-Salem Sit In Movement. I asked which was first, Greensboro or Winston-Salem. He smiles and says, “They sat down first, but we ate first.”

Johnson said the first to go downtown to sit in was civil rights leader Carl Mathews. “The week after the Greensboro Sit In, Carl, who was our leader, went downtown by himself. We didn’t realize he was going by himself, so Jefferson Davis [Diggs III], William Bright and myself heard about it, so we said we can’t let Carl stay down there by himself, so we went down there the next day. A week or so later there were some white kids from Wake Forest to join us.” The civil rights activist said students from Atkins High School and Winston-Salem State University, where he was attending, joined them as well.

“My sister even wanted to join us. The police said that if we came back they would put us in jail, so I told my sister you don’t need to come down here. But the white kids came down so they put us in jail that day like they said,” Johnson said.

The group won the case against them prayer for judgment, was released, and the chargers were dropped. Johnson acknowledged local minister Jerry Drayton. “He did a lot of the background work. He was a real prominent minister, and he got a lot of business and the chief of police to let us sit down and eat. We didn’t do by ourselves; we had some help.”

Victor Johnson received a surprised presentation of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine from his wife and local church and business leaders. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state. He had no idea about the surprise presentation.

“I knew a couple of weeks before that I was going to be awarded at New Bethel Baptist Church.” Victor Johnson laughed, and said, “I said to myself, why they would come over here to award something at their church. We arrived at the church, and then my wife told me to go upstairs, and that’s when they put everything together. It was truly a surprise.”

Johnson said receiving the award felt good, because the people that presented him with the award were board members that he worked with, “people I worked with for 16 years. It was the Winston-Salem superintendent, two board members and a state representative. I knew some of them since high school, so that made it even more special.”

After all he’s accomplished, he’s remained a very humble man. “During the presentation, I was trying to figure it all out: Why me?”

To see more of this truly inspiring interview with the Winston-Salem icon, go to The Chronicle’s YouTube channel @ Winstonsalem Chronicle



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