A Statesboro civil-rights attorney and Pembroke pastor has been elected the newest leader of the Georgia State Conference NAACP.
At the 71st annual NAACP Georgia State Convention and Civil Rights Conference last week in Columbus, Dr. Francys Johnson was announced as the organization’s next president. He becomes the group’s first new president in eight years and the youngest in its history. Johnson, 34, is a Georgia Southern University and University of Georgia graduate, and head of The Johnson Firm P.C. law firm in Statesboro. He has served in ordained ministry for 18 years, at both the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Pembroke and Magnolia Missionary Baptist Church in Statesboro. Johnson will serve a two-year term and succeed Edward Dubose.
“I am humbled,” Johnson said. “The NAACP is the oldest and largest, and probably most venerated, civil rights organization in the country. When I think of the contributions of past presidents, of civil rights giants, I am truly humbled. I have served the NAACP before in various capacities, and I know we are ready to move Georgia forward.”
Johnson has been involved with the NAACP for more than 25 years. He began working with the group while still a student in the public education system, served as an attorney for the organization and later was appointed as regional director to manage NAACP operations for seven Southern states.
“I am looking forward to coming up with new solutions to some of our old problems and working with Gov. Nathan Deal, legislators and others in the public and private sectors to make a difference for the state of Georgia,” Johnson said.
The new president said his focus will be on battling for a fair criminal justice system, improving the status of the state’s education system, and finding ways to ensure a robust, diverse economy.
“Folks sometimes are confused about the NAACP; they think the NAACP deals only in black and white issues. That is certainly not the case. We deal in red, white and blue issues — American issues,” Johnson said.
“Our real work is to make sure that the Constitution and laws of these United States are equitably applied to every citizen - to make real the promise of America’s democracy. The issues that I’m focused on are issues that all Georgians should be concerned about.”
In a news release, Leon Russell, vice chairman of the organization’s Board of Directors, said, “You can’t look at young folks and say, ‘You’re going to be the leaders of the future.’ You have to give them the opportunity to lead now, and that’s what the NAACP believes. ... I am confident that the bar of excellence will be raised and more young professionals will be attracted to the work of the NAACP.”