Remembering Charles Johnson

Remembering Charles Johnson

by
Nazarene News Staff
| 21 Jan 2022
Image
Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson, 83, of Meridian, Mississippi, passed away 12 January 2022. He was the pastor of Fitkins Memorial Church of the Nazarene for more than 60 years. He was also a key figure in the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Johnson became pastor of Fitkins Memorial Church of the Nazarene in Meridian, Mississippi, in July of 1961. In his 61 years as pastor, nearly 40 church members went on to become pastors, at least 20 of whom serve in the Church of the Nazarene.

Johnson was seen as a father figure for many, including Charles Tillman, pastor of Woodville Church of the Nazarene in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to his pastorate, Tillman is the Black Ministries coordinator for USA/Canada Region, a role Johnson once held himself. Tillman remembers the influence Johnson had on young people and in his own life:

“In nurturing those young people, you had people that grew up, went to college, came back, and they were able to get a better paying job and doors of opportunity were opened,” Tillman said.

In addition to his leadership as a pastor and mentor to the young people of Meridian, Johnson was a leader in his community, fighting for equality through the Civil Rights Movement in America during the 1960s.

Johnson founded the Meridian Action Committee and worked tirelessly to help bring about equality and justice for those he shepherded in Meridian. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Philadelphia, Mississippi, after the murders of three civil rights workers, including two of his friends.

In the trial surrounding the death of these workers, which took place in 1964, Johnson was a key witness for the United States Department of Justice. This trial eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

[Dr. Johnson believed] the world should not lead us, but we should be leading the world,” Tillman said. “That’s what Dr. Johnson did. He did not worry about whether it made him popular; he did what was right. And because of that, I’m here, and so many of us are here today.”

Johnson is survived by his wife, Shirley Johnson; sister, Ora; son, Charles; daughters Sheryl, Gloria, Janice, Angela, Nikki, and Amelia; 17 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Charles’ visitation will be held 21 January at Fitkins Memorial Church of the Nazarene from 4 to 6 p.m. His funeral will be held 22 January at Fitkins Memorial, starting at 1 p.m.

Comments

Latest

Image
In Memoriam

In Memoriam: 19 April 2024

18 Apr 2024
Go to content
Image
Scott Whalen

Scott Whalen elected superintendent of…

18 Apr 2024
Go to content
Image
Everett Tustin

Everett Tustin elected superintendent of…

18 Apr 2024
Go to content
Image
GTC Full

Nazarenes gather for reflection, discussion…

18 Apr 2024
Go to content

Most Popular

There are no news items to show.

Newsletter