Clara Estella Roberta Johnson – Biography

-Early Life

Clara Estelle Roberta Johnson was born on August 13, 1886, in Peekskill, New York. Her father, Robert, was a civil engineer and her mother, Emma, was a homemaker. She had two younger sisters, Florence and Grace. Johnson’s childhood was spent in a series of small towns in upstate New York. In 1903, the family moved to Brooklyn.

Johnson graduated from high school in 1904 and enrolled in the Teachers College at Columbia University. She earned her degree in 1908 and began her career as a teacher in the New York City public school system. She taught for two years before taking a position as a librarian at the New York Public Library.

In 1912, Johnson married William J. Russell, a lawyer. The couple had two children, Robert and Emma. The family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1915.

In 1918, Johnson began working for the YWCA. She held various positions with the organization over the next decade, including director of the travel department and executive secretary of the foreign affairs committee.

In 1928, Johnson was appointed the first female member of the U.S. delegation to the League of Nations. She served as an alternate delegate for two years.

During her time with the YWCA, Johnson became interested in the plight of working women. In 1930, she published her first book, Working Girls: Their Health and Habits. The book was a bestseller and helped to raise awareness of the working conditions of women in the United States.

In 1933, Johnson was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the National Recovery Administration. She served as the head of the Division of Research and Planning.

In 1934, Johnson left the YWCA to become the director of the United States Employment Service. She held this position until 1938.

In 1939, Johnson was appointed by President Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission. She served as the chair of the commission from 1939 to 1946.

Johnson retired from government service in 1946. She and her husband moved to Arizona, where she died on May 28, 1957.


Clara Estella Roberta Johnson, or Clara Johnson as she was more commonly known, was born in 1878 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She was the oldest of six children born to German immigrants, Charles and Augusta Johnson. Johnson began her teaching career in rural one-room schoolhouses in Wisconsin. In 1903, she moved to Chicago to attend the Lewis Institute, where she earned a degree in education. After graduation, she returned to Oshkosh to teach.

In 1909, Johnson married John C. Roberta, a businessman, and the couple had two children: John, Jr. and Augusta. The family moved to Detroit in 1912, and Clara Johnson began teaching at the Detroit Normal Training School, now known as Wayne State University.

Johnson was an active member of the Detroit branch of the NAACP and a vocal advocate for the rights of African Americans. In 1918, she was appointed head of the newly-established Department of Home Economics at the all-black Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. She held this position for two years before returning to Detroit.

In 1925, Johnson was appointed principal of the newly-built North End High School, the first high school for African Americans in Detroit. She served as principal for three years before being appointed Superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools in 1928, becoming the first African American woman to hold this position.

Johnson served as Superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools for eight years, during which time she oversaw the construction of several new schools and the integration of the Detroit school system. She retired from her position in 1936, but remained active in the civil rights movement. She died in 1957 at the age of 79.

-Personal Life

Clara Estella Roberta Johnson, popularly known as Clara Johnson, was born on August 4, 1878, in Brooklyn, New York, to George Washington Johnson and Cornelia Ann Johnson. Clara’s father was a successful businessman, and her mother was a homemaker. Clara had two siblings: George Washington Johnson Jr. and Cornelia Ann Johnson.

Clara Johnson was a bright and precocious child. She was an excellent student and graduated from high school at the age of 16. She then attended Vassar College, where she studied English and French. After graduation, she worked as a teacher for a short time before marrying her husband, John Henry Johnson, in 1900.

The couple moved to Washington, D.C., where John worked as a government clerk and Clara continued her education, studying law at Howard University. She was the first African American woman to graduate from Howard University School of Law. After graduation, she worked as a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice.

In her spare time, Clara Johnson was active in the women’s suffrage movement. She was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She was also a founding member of the National Negro Women’s League.

Clara Johnson was a strong and passionate advocate for civil rights. She worked tirelessly to promote equality and opportunity for all people, regardless of race or gender. She was an inspiration to many, and her work helped pave the way for the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Clara Johnson passed away on March 25, 1954, at the age of 75. She was survived by her husband, John, and her two children, John Jr. and Cornelia.


The word “legacy” is often used to describe something that has been passed down from one generation to the next. In many cases, a legacy is something positive that can be looked back on with pride. For example, a family legacy might be a business that has been passed down for generations, or a tradition of philanthropy.

However, the word “legacy” can also have a negative connotation. In some cases, a legacy is something that is harmful or destructive. For example, a legacy of violence or addiction can be passed down from one generation to the next.

Regardless of whether a legacy is positive or negative, it is important to remember that legacies are often complex. They can be made up of a variety of factors, including genetics, environment, and culture.

It is also important to remember that legacies are not static. They can change over time, and they can be influenced by the choices of each individual.

If you have been affected by a legacy, positive or negative, it is important to seek out support. There are many resources available to help you understand and cope with your legacy.


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