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Malvyn Johnson

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Information about Malvyn Johnson

Profile image of Malvyn Johnson

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Media Consultant
Television and Radio Correspondent

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
London, England, Solomons Island
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/4/1924
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Media Consultant
Television and Radio Correspondent

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
London, England, Solomons Island
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/4/1924
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how Malvyn Johnson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Journalist and civil rights activist Malvyn “Mal” Johnson was born July 4, 1924, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Johnson and her four siblings, Alice, Artie, Harvey and Norma, were primarily raised by their mother, Johnnie Reeves Taft, because their father left the family when Malvyn was still young; her mother would later remarry. Johnson attended Temple University, where she earned her B.A. degree while working to pay her own way through school as a riveter in the naval yards, among other jobs.

After graduation, Johnson began working for Veterans Affairs before moving on to become the program director for the local YWCA. Johnson soon married her husband, Frank Benjamin Johnson, whom she had known since she was twelve years old; the couple moved to California until the Korean War separated them, and Johnson was forced to return to her hometown. Because of her husband's service in the Air Force, Johnson and her husband traveled extensively beginning in the mid-1950s, including periods in Redding, England, Maine, and Wyoming. While traveling, Johnson began to teach.

Johnson returned to the United States to attend Springfield University in Massachusetts, where she received her M.A. degree in intergroup relations and community dynamics. Johnson’s husband tragically died at the Westover Air Force Base during the Vietnam War, and Johnson continued teaching. Prior to moving back to Philadelphia, Johnson got a job at the Philadelphia Inquirer as the assistant to the editor; at this time, she also became heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

Johnson eventually left the Philadelphia Inquirer to work with the North City Congress, a Civil Rights organization in Philadelphia, where she worked for two years alongside such luminaries as C. Delores Tucker; she also served as a co-chair of the local NAACP chapter with Tucker. In 1964, Johnson became director of community affairs for WKBS-TV, and worked as the "Cash for Trash" girl. Johnson soon became a news anchor and wrote as a columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune.

In 1969, Johnson was offered a job at Cox Broadcasting Corporation in Washington, D.C. after Barbara Walters and Jim Vance, both close colleagues of Johnson, encouraged her to take the position; she stayed with this organization for twenty-seven years. Johnson was the first female reporter employed by Cox and became the second African American female White House correspondent. Johnson covered five different United States Presidents, as well as Capitol Hill and the State Department. In 1980, Johnson became the Senior Washington Correspondent and the National Director of Community Affairs. Johnson also served as a representative of the United Nations International Association of Women in Radio and Television. Johnson also helped to found the National Association of Black Journalists, and the National Broadcast Association for Community Affairs. In 2000, Johnson left Cox to create her own media consulting firm, Medialinx International.

Malvyn “Mal” Johnson passed away on November 7, 2007, at the age of eighty-five.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Malvyn Johnson's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Malvyn Johnson lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Malvyn Johnson describes her mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Malvyn Johnson describes her mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Malvyn Johnson lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Malvyn Johnson describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Malvyn Johnson describes her early homes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Malvyn Johnson describes her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Malvyn Johnson describes her stepfather's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Malvyn Johnson recalls her diverse neighborhood and schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Malvyn Johnson describes her mother's education and profession
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Malvyn Johnson recalls her experiences with racial prejudice in elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Malvyn Johnson describes the Philadelphia High School for Girls in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Malvyn Johnson recalls working while attending Temple University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Malvyn Johnson remembers her experiences at Temple University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Malvyn Johnson describes how she met her husband
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Malvyn Johnson talks about her husband's service in the U.S. Army Air Force
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Malvyn Johnson recalls her experiences as a housekeeper, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Malvyn Johnson recalls her experiences as a housekeeper, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Malvyn Johnson describes Royal Air Force Greenham Common in Reading, England
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Malvyn Johnson remembers her husband's death
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Malvyn Johnson recalls teaching herself to drive
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Malvyn Johnson describes her position at the Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Malvyn Johnson recalls the Civil Rights Movement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Malvyn Johnson describes the start of her television broadcasting career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Malvyn Johnson describes her experiences with racial discrimination at WKBS-TV
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Malvyn Johnson remembers her friendship with Pearl Buck
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Malvyn Johnson recalls becoming a White House correspondent
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Malvyn Johnson describes her involvement with the American Women in Radio and Television
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Malvyn Johnson remembers interviewing Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Malvyn Johnson recalls her trip to Russia with President Richard Milhous Nixon
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Malvyn Johnson remembers fellow journalist Ethel Payne
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Malvyn Johnson recalls her arrest in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Malvyn Johnson describes the Fourth World Conference on Women
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Malvyn Johnson's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Malvyn Johnson describes her position with Cox Broadcasting Corporation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Malvyn Johnson recalls her interviews with politicians
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Malvyn Johnson talks about Cox Broadcasting Corporation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Malvyn Johnson talks about the members of the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Malvyn Johnson describes the founding of the National Association of Black Journalists
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Malvyn Johnson remembers her social gatherings at the Watergate Hotel
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Malvyn Johnson remembers her mentors, Helen Thomas and Sarah McClendon
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Malvyn Johnson remembers reporter Sarah McClendon
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Malvyn Johnson describes her involvement with the American Women in Radio and Television
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Malvyn Johnson remembers President Richard Milhous Nixon's administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Malvyn Johnson recalls the United Airlines Flight 553 crash in 1972
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Malvyn Johnson corrects information regarding Sam Ervin and Sam Rayburn
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Malvyn Johnson recalls her coverage of the presidential campaign in the 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Malvyn Johnson describes her experiences with President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.'s administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Malvyn Johnson recalls her first meeting with Nancy Reagan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Malvyn Johnson describes her involvement with the National Women's Conference
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Malvyn Johnson describes her work at the Fourth World Conference on Women, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Malvyn Johnson describes her work at the Fourth World Conference on Women, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Malvyn Johnson describes her involvement with women's rights organizations
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Malvyn Johnson describes government involvement in the 1990s, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Malvyn Johnson describes her government involvement in the 1990s, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Malvyn Johnson describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Malvyn Johnson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Malvyn Johnson narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Malvyn Johnson narrates her photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Malvyn Johnson narrates her photographs, pt. 3