In Memoriam: Willa Elaine Johnson, 1957-2022

Willa Johnson, a professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi, died on November 7. She was 65 years old.

Dr. Johnson taught at the University of Mississippi for 23 years. Collegaues remember her as a “renaissance woman” who was an expert in many disciplines, fluent in multiple languages, and an artist.

A graduate of Kean University in New Jersey, Dr. Johnson received a master of divinity degree in biblical history from Boston University. At Vanderbilt University, she became the second Black woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in Hebrew Bible. Dr. Johnson was a postdoctoral research fellow at the International Institute for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem and the Cummings Foundation Fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Johnson was the first Black woman to rise from adjunct instructor to full professor in the history of the university. Dr. Johnson was a Hebrew Bible scholar who also studied issues of the Holocaust and the contemporary politics of race and ethnicity. She taught courses centered on subjects such as the sociology of disability, genocide and women, and the social context of Holocaust art. She was the author of Through an Artist’s Eyes: The Dehumanization and Racialization of Jews and Political Dissidents During the Third Reich (Routledge, 2021)

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Placed on Accreditation Probation

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education stated that the university fell short in meeting requirements in financial planning and budget processes and compliance with laws, regulations, and commission policies.

Two Black Women Scholars Who Are Taking on New Assignments in Higher Education

Penelope Andrews was appointed the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School and Angela D. Dillard, the Richard A. Meisler Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, was given the added duties of the inaugural vice provost for undergraduate education.

Tuskegee University Partners With Intel to Boost Black Presence in the Semiconductor Industry

Participating Tuskegee students will have a chance to gain hands-on skills in engineering design, semiconductor processing, and device fabrication technologies and an overall valuable experience working in the microelectronics cleanroom fabrication facility at Tuskegee University.

K.C. Mmeje Honored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Foundation

K.C. Mmeje is vice president for student affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The NASPA Pillars of the Profession Award acknowledges remarkable individuals within the student affairs and higher education community who demonstrate exceptional contributions to both the profession and the organization.

Featured Jobs