Miles Johnson Taskforce History

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Dr. Leonard W. Johnson

Dr. Leonard W. Johnson, a 1950 FAMU graduate, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Director/Owner of the Spruce Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, served as president of FAMU National Alumni Association, 1970 – 1980. As president, he injected a new emphasis and vitality into the Association. His presence radiated in tangible and intangible ways as he created a new level of enthusiasm and concern for the University throughout the Nation, while developing more functional regional chapters and strengthening local alumni chapters. His intensified national recruiting efforts encouraged a higher level of alumni giving. Thus, he was the first alumni president to report annual contributions in excess of $100,000. His belief in giving back gave rise to another fete, the development of the Weekend of Rededication which purposed to enlighten and inspire alumni across the nation to ensure FAMU’s survival as an autonomous and viable Historically Black institution. Alumni continue to meet annually to discuss issues pertaining to this goal and volunteer ideas and involvement in assisting goal attainment. Dr. Johnson had a passion for developing and nurturing student achievement and success. Thus he worked with University personnel to conduct seminars for doctors, lawyers, business leaders and other professionals who came to the campus proudly and served as a source of inspiration and motivation for the students. Additionally, he personally involved himself in recruiting and finding finances/scholarships for students. Dr. Leonard Johnson was a highly productive, creative, energetic, charismatic and intensely dedicated president, who bitterly and openly opposed merger of FAMU in any form and never missed an opportunity to publicly express his opposition to BOR, legislators and Governor alike. This was during a period when all signs in the educational systems pointed toward merging FAMU and FSU. The amount of travel needed or financial cost did not hinder his aggressive behavior in these matters. The FAMU Alumni Association and chapters sensed the same and became more political than ever before under his leadership as they lent their energy, professional wisdom and influence to impacting matters that would hinder FAMU’s survival. Johnson passed this baton and spirit on to Rev. Dr. Moses G. Miles, another strong unfettered leader.

Rev. Dr. Moses General Miles

Rev. Moses General Miles, a 1941 FAMU graduate, was one of the best known graduates in the history of the University. He served as president of the National Alumni Association 1980 – 1984. He was determined to build a better “image” for the University and encouraged all graduates to speak publicly about positive aspects of FAMU, and placed his weight and influence behind University President Walter L. Smith. The two of them traveled nation-wide working toward good alumni /university relations. An unprecedented number of pledges and contributions resulted, thus increasing alumni giving tremendously. Rev. Dr. Miles, an institution in the eyes of FAMU students between 1944 and 1969, among a number positions served as Dean of Men, Director of Public Relations, Director of Student Activities and Dean of Students. He had a tremendous influence on the students of that era. Most of the students as alumni applauded him for his insistence on discipline and expressed gratitude for him having positively influenced their lives. These relationships contributed greatly to his leadership experiences as National Alumni President. These Alumni, felt they had a leader in whom they believed and could make a difference… It was apparent through his talk and his walk that Rev. Miles believed strongly in FAMU and its ability to mold and shape lives. He professed that “we {FAMU} are the only institution in Florida that gives an opportunity to Blacks to move ahead in leadership… Here they also learn social competence,… and become leaders.” Rev. Miles described himself as zesty, unfettered and unafraid, ready to let friends and foes alike know that “No single personality is bigger than FAMU. FAMU as an institution comes first!”

The Miles Johnson Task Force

It is with respect for the leadership strength, aggressiveness and fearless determination to get the job done regardless of the unpopularity of issues and/or possible disdain of opposers demonstrated by Dr. Johnson and Rev. Miles that this task force assumed their names. Moreover, their belief in the provision of education, the strength of HBCU’s and their ability to mold and shape the minds and lives of Black youth speaks loudly. “Black and poor children are extremely talented and gifted just like all other children. Their mental capacity is not determined by their zip codes but the zip code can limit their potential. Miles and Johnson’s leadership experiences mandate that “we too must rise up and unapologetically address the crisis in education at its root causes as we together transform the mine field of planning obstacles into an oasis of equitable opportunities for ALL CHILDREN for generations to come.”

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Miles Johnson Mission Statement

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The Miles – Johnson Task Force for Equity and Excellence in Education is the amalgamation of the collective strengths of multiple disciplines and seasoned experts including, but not limited to academia, government, health, politics, law, corporate finance, media and performing arts and others. The Miles – Johnson Task Force defends the right of every child in Florida to a quality, unqualified public school education that is not stratified by race, ethnicity, gender, religious preference or socioeconomic status. The Task Force is committed to working with multiple levels of government, the corporate sector, the traditional public school system and the entire “community” to significantly and substantially revise and reform the tiered and privileged instructional delivery mechanism that is currently operational and effectively destroying Black and poor children. A statewide vehicle will be developed to proactively engage the community and the public school system to effectively and efficiently accomplish its goals of reversing the current practice of “Taxation without Education” for Black and poor children.
Board of Directors
Joseph L. Webster, Sr., MD, MBA, FACP – Co -Chairperson
Frederick S. Humphries, Ph.D. – Co-Chairperson
General Leroy Bell
Clinton F. Byrd
John Due, Esq.
E. J. Fountain
Frank Hamilton, Ph.D.
Col. Brodes Hartley
Will G. Harris, MD
Rosalie Hill, Ph.D.
Bishop A. J. Richardson, Jr.
Ann Sherman
Bishop Anthony Webster, Sr., Ph.D, MDiv., MS