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

Sheila C. Johnson

Share on Social Media

Information about Sheila C. Johnson

Profile image of Sheila C. Johnson

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Hospitality Entrepreneur
Broadcast Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Italy
Favorite Quote:
Always Do Your Best.

Birthplace

Born:
1/25/1949

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Hospitality Entrepreneur
Broadcast Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Italy
Favorite Quote:
Always Do Your Best.

Birthplace

Born:
1/25/1949
See how Sheila C. Johnson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Business and civic leader, Sheila Crump Johnson was born on January 25, 1949, in Pennsylvania. Her father, George P. Crump, was a prominent neurosurgeon, and her mother, Marie Iris Crump, was an accountant. During her early years, her father’s practice at Veterans Administration hospitals took the family from town to town. Johnson’s family then relocated to Maywood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where she attended Irving High School, and then graduated from Proviso High School in 1966. During this time, Johnson found her first love, music; she went on to become a concert violinist and the first African American to win a statewide violin competition in Illinois. After high school, Johnson enrolled in the University of Illinois where she met her now-former husband and business partner, Robert Johnson (divorced 2002).

In 1969, Johnson married Robert Johnson, and in 1970, graduated from the University of Illinois with her B.A. degree in music. After graduation, Johnson worked as a music teacher at the private school, Sidwell Friends. In 1975, she founded a 140-member youth orchestra, Young Strings in Action. The group was invited to perform in the Middle Eastern nation of Jordan, where she was given the country’s top educational award by Jordan’s King Hussein.

In 1980, Johnson and her husband co-founded Black Entertainment Television (BET), a cable network geared towards African American audiences. Johnson became BET’s executive vice president for corporate affairs, focusing on issues affecting the communities that BET served. In 1989, Johnson created Teen Summit, a show that dealt with the everyday issues of teens and attempted to motivate the teen viewers.

In 1999, Johnson left BET to pursue her own interests and to guide her daughter’s equestrian career. In 2002, Johnson became head of the Washington International Horse Show. Johnson purchased a farm in Northern Virginia in Middleburg and turned the 350 acre estate into the Salamander Inn & Spa, an 85,000-square-foot French country resort. Johnson also formed Salamander Hospitality, a hotel resort and spa management firm, in order to achieve those goals.

Johnson became involved in the Washington Mystics WNBA franchise, and in 2005 purchased it from former owner, Abe Pollin; this and similar moves in relation to the Washington Capitals (NHL) and the Washington Wizards (NBA), earned her the distinction of being the first woman to be a stakeholder in three professional sports franchises. In 2005, Johnson married William T. Newman, Jr., a judge in Arlington, Virginia. In July of 2007, Johnson purchased Innisbrook Golf Resort and its four golf courses outside of Tampa, Florida. Johnson expanded her portfolio to include film in 2008, when she was the executive producer of A Powerful Noise. Johnson is the mother of two children, Paige Johnson and Brett Johnson.

See how Sheila C. Johnson is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sheila C. Johnson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sheila C. Johnson lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sheila Johnson describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls moving often during her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sheila C. Johnson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sheila C. Johnson talks about her younger brother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls her piano lessons in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her early personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sheila C. Johnson describes the community of Maywood, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls playing first chair violin in the Illinois All-State Orchestra
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls the deaths of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sheila C. Johnson describes Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls her violin performances
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sheila C. Johnson remembers being a cheerleader
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls her decision to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sheila C. Johnson describes the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her experiences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls marrying BET founder Robert L. Johnson
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls the early years of her marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sheila C. Johnson remembers her summer in Brussels, Belgium
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls teaching at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls founding the Young Strings in Action orchestra
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls operating Young Strings in Action from her home
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls founding Black Entertainment Television
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls finding advertisers for BET
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sheila C. Johnson remembers her decision to retire from teaching
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sheila C. Johnson remembers performing in Jordan with Young Strings in Action
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sheila C. Johnson remembers the success of Young Strings in Action
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls Young Strings in Action's performance in Jordan, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls Young Strings in Action's performance in Jordan, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sheila C. Johnson remembers creating the National Music Conservatory in Amman, Jordan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sheila C. Johnson talks about Young Strings in Action
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls working full time at BET
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sheila C. Johnson describes the 'Teen Summit' program on BET
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shelia C. Johnson describes BET's production company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sheila C. Johnson remembers the success of BET's 'Teen Summit'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sheila C. Johnson talks about the BET Awards
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her children's education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her daughter's interest in equestrianism
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls learning about the horse show industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sheila C. Johnson describes Salamander Farm
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her children's interests
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls her presidency of the Washington International Horse Show
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her business ventures in Middleburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sheila C. Johnson talks about her work in the hospitality industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sheila C. Johnson recalls becoming an owner of the Washington Mystics
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her goals for the Washington Mystics WNBA team
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sheila C. Johnson talks about Sheila's I Am Powerful Challenge
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Sheila C. Johnson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Sheila C. Johnson reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered