The Rest of the Dream
The Black Odyssey of Lyman Johnson
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
256 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, illus
- Published: November 1988
In The Rest of the Dream, Lyman Johnson, grassroots civil rights leader, tells his own story. All four of Johnson's grandparents were slaves in Tennessee. Yet his father was a college graduate, principal of a black school, and the inspiration for his son's love of justice. Lyman Johnson was born in 1906 during the darkest days of segregation. He learned from his father not to sit in the "crow's nest" reserved for blacks in his hometown movie theater. This refusal to accept second-class citizenship became a guiding principle in Johnson's life. Johnson was almost forty-three when he won admission to graduate study at the University of Kentucky in 1949. Crosses were burned on campus. Because of his family commitments, he returned to his teaching position in Louisville and never completed his doctorate. Thirty years later the university that fought to keep him out awarded him an honorary doctor of letters degree. Johnson earned his doctorate the hard way -- by saying no to the crow's nest and other marks of inequality. Johnson's graphic recall of people and incidents and his storyteller's talent for narrative make this record of a unique American life filled with suspense, humor, tragedy, and triumph.
"The compelling reminiscences of an 82-year-old black history teacher and civil rights activist. Johnson tells his story with an impressive mixture of rage and understanding, frustration and hope. Makes for engrossing reading." -- Kirkus Reviews