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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

What the Loss of Civil Rights Icons Means for Continuing Fight for Equality

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

I think we have unfinished business,” says Dr. Ollie Johnson, chair and professor of the Department of African American Studies at Wayne State University.

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Dr. Ollie Johnson of Wayne State University (right) with Stephen Henderson (left).Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Dr. Ollie Johnson of Wayne State University (right) with Stephen Henderson (left).

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day to reflect not only on the man, but the movement that he came to represent. That reflection has some people thinking about all of the civil rights icons we’ve lost recently. Judge Damon KeithRep. John ConyersRep. Elijah CummingsAretha FranklinToni Morrison, Harris Wofford, and many more. As we move further into this decade we’ll lose more.

What does the loss of the Civil Rights generation mean for the fight for equal rights moving forward?

They wanted to change laws, they wanted to improve legislation, they wanted to improve America,” says Dr. Ollie Johnson, chair and professor of the Department of African American Studies at Wayne State University.

I think we have unfinished business. And it really pains me to talk about it,” Johnson tells Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today.

Johnson also talks about the people he thinks could help lead the fight for civil rights going forward, and about what the 2020 presidential race says about the status of that struggle today.

Click on the audio player above to hear Dr. Ollie Johnson talk about the loss of civil rights icons on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.


Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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