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50th Anniversary Civil Rights March on Frankfort


As a young man, shortly out of high school, John J. Johnson was the president of the local NAACP in his hometown of Franklin, Kentucky, and was a member of the executive committee for the March on Frankfort 50 years ago, which is being commemorated this year. That first march touched the nation and ultimately helped lead to the passage of the U.S. Civil Rights Act on July 2 of the same year. Today, John J. Johnson is the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, and speaks with Kate Lochte.

In his interview, John J. Johnson reflects on the 1964 March on Frankfort and the events and people who contributed to the event. Johnson made sure to distinguish that, in 1964, it "...was not Martin King's march; it was the Kentuckians' march." However, notables, such as Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, joined the 10,000 Kentuckians in their efforts on Frankfort. Johnson hopes the 50th Anniversary March will bring more people to celebrate the Civil Rights successes of the past and lend to Civil Rights successes in the future for Kentucky.

To sign up for the 50th Anniversary Civil Rights Commemorative March on Frankfort, contact Mary Ann Taylor of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights at 800-292-5566, or email her at It will be held on Wednesday, March 5. Two years after the March on Frankfort of March 5, 1964, the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966 became the first state law south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

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