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First Black faculty member at JU died

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Updated: 1/24/2013 3:52 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Janet Johnson was 79-years-old when she died, but her legacy in the classroom will last a lot longer. "Mom was someone that strives for excellence and saw greatness in people," said her son Earl Johnson Jr.

She was the first black faculty member at Jacksonville University. And it was there that she created Upward Bound. It's a program that helped thousands get into college including Mayor Alvin Brown.

"Many of them came from less fortunate upbringings, but became doctors and lawyers. That was her greatest reward," said her youngest son, Nelson Johnson.

Her husband Earl Johnson was the first black elected city official in Jacksonville. And they even helped Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. plan protests from their living room.

"They grew up in the 50's and 60's in a time of great change. And they were a part of that change," said Johnson.

Through all of her successes, her children say Janet Johnson's greatest accomplishment will always be the students she touched. "If you work hard there is no barrier. There is no limit," said her daughter, Perry Lynn Johnson.

Johnson leaves behind four children and nine grandchildren. Her funeral will be at 11:00 Saturday morning at St Joseph's Catholic Church in Mandarin.
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