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Michigan Education

UM’s first black dean reflects on a career filled with triumphs and racial barriers

Harold Johnson became dean of the School of Social Work in 1981.
Harold Johnson became dean of the School of Social Work in 1981.

A conversation on Stateside between Karen Downing, a University of Michigan librarian, and Harold Johnson, the first black dean at the University of Michigan.

Karen Downing and Harold Johnson
Credit Courtesy of the University of Michigan Library
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Karen Downing and Harold Johnson

As part of the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial Celebration, the University of Michigan Library brought StoryCorps to campus last fall to capture personal stories of those who make up the university’s rich history.

One of the conversations featured Karen Downing, a University of Michigan librarian. She sat down with her father, Harold Johnson, to talk about what it was like for him to make history as the first black dean at the University of Michigan.

Listen above.(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast oniTunes,Google Play, or with thisRSS link)

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