Former Tennessee State Representative Johnnie Turner

With Black History Month just around the corner, the University of Memphis Black Student Association has big plans to commemorate the special month in February. The opening ceremony certainly will not disappoint on Friday night.

Johnnie R. Turner, a former state representative of Tennessee, will be honored as the recipient of the Arthur S. Holmon Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony in the University Center Theatre at the University of Memphis. The ceremony will be taking place on January 31, exactly one day before the beginning of Black History Month.

“It seems appropriate to honor Ms. Turner for her life’s work for the advancement of people of color in this community”, Linda Hall, the associate dean of Multicultural Affairs, stated. “She was poor and came from limited means and we want our students to understand that it matters not your starting point, it is where you end up.”

Turner served as a representative for District 85 in the State House of Representatives from 2010-2019. She also served as the executive director of the NAACP-Memphis for many years.

The work of Turner stretches back to the 1960’s, when she helped orchestrate sit-ins and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through the South to have civil rights movement rallies. Her activism began as a college student, and her passion for equality grew from there.

The event is free of cost and open to the public.