Updated: Aug 3
My father Theodore Roosevelt Johnson, Sr. was born in Indianola, Mississippi and raised in Memphis Tennessee. He received his bachelor’s degree from Lemoyne Owen College, and his masters from Tennessee State University. He was an educator; a schoolteacher that progressed to elementary school principal. However, he also worked as a barber and encyclopedia salesman to support his seven children: 6 boys and 1 girl. My mom was a housewife until I graduated high school.
My father retired from the Memphis City School system as an elementary school principal after 43 years of service. He was the last Principal of the last segregated school Kortrich Elementary near downtown Memphis.
My dad was well recognized in the city for being bold and a supportive life-member of the NAACP. A smooth and charismatic salesperson, he annually sold the most tables for the Prayer Breakfast fundraiser.
Ted Johnson began his Kappa legacy by pledging the Beta Mu chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi at Lemoyne College in 1949. My eldest brother, a near genius, Errol Johnson (Kappa Invisible), pledged in 1966 at Epsilon Epsilon of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa Alabama.
The next to the oldest is the smooth and debonair Naaman Johnson, a member of the singing group, The Jaedes, who also pledged in 1967 at Stillman College, as Headknocker of the Dirty Dozen minus1.
Then came Ronald Johnson who pledged at Beta Mu of Lemoyne College but administratively he finished as Head Knocker at Beta Lambda of Lane College, Spring ‘69, Spartan 13.
My middle brother Maurice Johnson, a head knocker and the founding pastor of Memphis Christian Center in Memphis, TN along with my brother Theodore Jr (Kappa Invisible), pledged at Lemoyne Owen College’s Beta Mu Chapter.
Of course, my sister was a beautiful Kappa Sweetheart and her first marriage was to a Kappa, Eddie Bailey, who pledged at Lane College in Jackson TN.
Last but not least of his sons, was I, the baby boy. I am the 7th child of seven children, and I pledged the Charter Chapter of Kappa Beta on Memphis State University’s campus as the Head Knocker. Our line name was the Furious Four.
I am proud to say that the legacy did not end there. My nephew and golfing buddy, Halvern Johnson, Naaman’s youngest son, pledged in 1997 at Beta Lambda (Lane College) and is now the Polemarch of Daytona Beach Alumni, FL Chapter.
My dad, Ted Johnson was known for his immaculate dress (always in a suit) and spewing out clever quotations. My dad believed that education was the key to success, thus all his children graduated from college. He was a stickler about grammar and would reiterate “You must master the king’s English.” When he thought we were slacking he would say “He who takes a shortcut could get cut short” and “He who is good at making excuses is good at very little else.”
My father also believed in home ownership. He told us all. “You must buy a house. I don’t care if you own a shanty shack with a peeling ceiling and a stooped roof, it would at least be yours.
I am proud of my father and his legacy of having the most Kappa sons noted in the Kappa Journal 1984. What an enduring legacy. To my father, the Johnson Family and all the men of Achievement of Kappa Alpha Psi, there is no greater bond than family and fraternity.
Kappa Alpha Psi, 1-5-1911