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Dr. Sheary Darcus Johnson


Sheary Darcus Johnson (’70, ‘74M)

The first Black graduate of Madison College (now James Madison University), Sheary Darcus Johnson grew up in Harrisonburg when public schools were still segregated. She was a student at Lucy F. Simms School, the city’s African American school, but in support of her desire to go to college, Johnson’s father, Pastor Henry Darcus Sr., met with the Harrisonburg School Board to request that she be enrolled. In 1964, Johnson was one of several Black students to enroll in and desegregate Harrisonburg High School, and she attended classes in the building now known as JMU’s Memorial Hall. 

Two years later, in 1966, Johnson enrolled at Madison College, where she received her B.A. in library science (1970). After graduation, Johnson became the librarian at Waterman Elementary School in Harrisonburg. She then earned her M.S. in elementary education from Madison College (1974) and her Ed.D. with a focus in instructional technology from the University of Virginia (1988).  

Johnson joined the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University in the College of Education, where she taught library science and supervised student teachers before pursuing full-time ministry work. In this capacity, Johnson administered Victory Academy of Early Learning in Richmond. She also founded Better People, Inc., a nonprofit providing youth and adults the tools to become productive citizens, and The Ministry Connection, a nonprofit providing mentoring and training for women in ministry. Johnson has authored two books, Steps to Empowerment and Why I Didn’t Say YES: Understanding the Dynamics of the Body, Soul, and Spirit 





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