Vernon Johns Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

Civil Rights Activist

Vernon Johns

Birthday :

April 22, 1892

Died On :

June 11, 1965

Also Known For :


Birth Place :

Darlington Heights, Virginia, United States Of America

Zodiac Sign :


Vernon Johns was born on April 22nd, in 1892. He was famous for his contribution to the civil rights movement. Besides this, he served as a minister in a number of black churches situated in the South. He mainly ministered at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. After that, Martin Luther King Jr. took over his ministerial position.

Early Life

Vernon Johns was born on April 22nd, in 1892. His birthplace was in Darlington Heights, Virginia. Johns grandfather had been killed after he murdered his master. His other three grandparents were also slaves.



Vernon Johns went to Virginia Theological Seminary and College. He graduated from the institution in 1915. After this, he went to Oberlin College. Here, he schooled with Robert M. Hutchins, a renown American philosopher. He graduated from the college in 1918. After that, he enrolled at the University of Chicago. He studied theology in the university.

Upon his graduation from the University of Chicago, he ministered to congregations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Later on, Johns published his work in Best Sermons of the Year.



For about five years, Vernon Johns headed the Virginia Theological Seminary and College. Unfortunately, Johns failed to manage the institution’s finances effectively. And as a result, he resigned.

In 1937, Johns began pastoring at the First Baptist Church located in Charleston, West Virginia. He also went to minister at the Court Street Baptist Church. Sadly, he also resigned and as a result, returned home to his farm.

Altona Trent had a considerable influence on ASU. Accordingly, she used this to her advantage to convince Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in hiring Johns, who was her husband. In 1948, Johns successfully ministered at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.


Personal Life

In 1927, Vernon Johns wedded Altona Trent. She taught music in the institution what would be called Alabama State University. She also taught piano classes in the institution.



Vernon Johns passed away on June 11th, in 1965. He succumbed to a heart attack leading to his death at the age of 73.



Owing to his civil rights contribution, in 1994, a film titled Road to Freedom: The Vernon Johns Story was released in his honor. Similarly, David Anderson Elementary School was later retitled to Vernon Johns Middle School in his honor.

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