The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Raymond L. Johnson

Share on Social Media

Information about Raymond L. Johnson

Profile image of Raymond L. Johnson

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Mathematician
Math Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Europe
Favorite Quote:
Don't look back. Someone might be gaining on you.

Birthplace

Born:
6/25/1943
Birth Location:
Alice, Texas

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Mathematician
Math Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Europe
Favorite Quote:
Don't look back. Someone might be gaining on you.

Birthplace

Born:
6/25/1943
Birth Location:
Alice
See how Raymond L. Johnson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Mathematician Raymond L. Johnson was born on June 25, 1943 in Alice, Texas, a small town near Corpus Christi. He was raised by his mother Johnnie Johnson, his maternal grandmother Ethel Pleasant Johnson, and her second husband Benjamin Thompson. Growing up, it was Benjamin Thompson who taught Johnson how to read and do some arithmetic. This sparked an early interest in mathematics and allowed Johnson to skip the first two grades. Johnson attended a two room schoolhouse because the nearby grade school was segregated. With the help of his mentors, Larry O’Rear and Stan Brooks, Johnson excelled in high school mathematics. He went on to major in mathematics and received his B.A. degree from the University of Texas in 1963.

Once again, with the help and encouragement of a great mentor, Dr. Howard Curtis, Johnson applied and became one of the first African Americans to be admitted to Rice University. Two alumni sued the university to stop Johnson’s entrance, but within the year, Rice University won the case. Johnson became a regular student, graduating with his Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1969. After college, Johnson started his forty year career at the University of Maryland in College Park, becoming the first African American faculty member in the mathematics department. He began as an assistant professor in 1968 and became a full professor in 1980.

Johnson served as chair of the graduate studies department at the University of Maryland from 1987 to 1990. As chair, he founded several programs to eliminate barriers for minority students and to help increase the number of minorities and women in the Ph.D. program in mathematics. He received a Distinguished Minority Faculty Award for his work. Johnson was promoted to chair of the mathematics department in 1991, a position he held for five years. Johnson’s mathematical work has focused in the area of harmonic analysis, the study of overlapping waves, which has roots in functions related to trigonometry. He has contributed to over twenty-five publications on mathematics research. Johnson’s current research focuses on applying harmonic analysis to study spectral synthesis. In 2007, Johnson was honored with the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2009, Johnson returned to Rice University to serve as a visiting professor. He has one son, Malcolm P. Johnson.

Raymond L. Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 17, 2012.

See how Raymond L. Johnson is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Raymond Johnson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Raumond Johnson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson describes his mother's side of the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson describes his mother's life in Alice, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson discusses similarities and differences from his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson describes growing up in Alice, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Raymond Johnson describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Raymond Johnson describes his family in Alice, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Raymond Johnson describes his early school-days
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience in a newly-integrated school system
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Raymond Johnson describes growing up during segregation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson discusses the sports heroes of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson describes those who influenced his decision to attend college
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience in high-school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience at the University of Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience with the American Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Raymond Johnson describes the mentorship he received in high school and college
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Raymond Johnson describes the post-Sputnik climate in the United States
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Raymond Johnson shares pleasant memories from the University of Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Raymond Johnson describes the summer of 1963
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Raymond Johnson describes his first year at Rice University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Raymond Johnson shares his thoughts on the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson describes his relationship with NFL player, Frank Ryan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson describes his experiences at Rice University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience with his graduate advisor, Jim Douglas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson describes his Ph.D. dissertation research
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson describes his transition from graduate school to his first job
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Raymond Johnson describes the tension following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience at the University of Maryland
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Raymond Johnson describes his brief experience at Howard University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Raymond Johnson describes his service as the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson describes his service as the chairman of the mathematics department
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson describes collaboration among African American mathematicians
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson discusses prominent African American mathematicians
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson talks about his family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson talks about the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Raymond Johnson talks about the first generation of African American mathematicians
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Raymond Johnson reflects upon his legacy at the University of Maryland and at Rice University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Raymond Johnson describes one of his successes as a mentor
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Raymond Johnson discusses meeting Ron [Ronald] Walters
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson discusses his concerns for African American mathematicians
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson describes his relationship with Freeman Hrabowski
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson talks about his son
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson's reflects upon how he would like to be remembered