Our Fathers Who Aren’t In Heaven
Tues, Feb. 20th on KBOO 90.7 FM, Stage & Studio presents a Black History Month documentary, Our Fathers Who Aren’t In Heaven, produced by Michael Johnson. This half-hour piece originally aired in 1994 as part of Legacies: Tales From America, a 13-part series of multicultural personal stories produced by Dmae Roberts.
Our Fathers Who Aren’t In Heaven chronicles Michael Johnson’s relationship with his father, David Johnson, a prize-winning African American photographer who documented the civil rights movement in America in the 1950s and 1960s. In this half-hour documentary, we hear abut the often distant relationships that fathers have with their sons. The piece is introduced by James DePreist, former music director of the Oregon Symphony.
Michael Johnson is an award-winning radio producer who lives in San Francisco. Johnson has produced music shows on KALW and KPFA in San Francisco. He was an associate producer for Lost and Found Sound, editor and digital mix engineer for “Spirits Of The Present: The Legacy From Native America” for Radio Smithsonian (PRI), and associate producer for the documentary series “Legacies: Tales from America”. He also served as general manager of KALW-FM, and digital training manager and senior producer of the Hot Soup Program at KQED-FM. He currently lives life online, reporting on emerging technologies, and guiding social media marketing strategies.
About David Johnson–
David Johnson, now 84 years old, fell in love with photography at age 12. He happened to win a small camera in a contest and began snapping photos. After a stint in the navy, he decided to study photography and while browsing through Popular Photography, he saw a small article that Ansel Adams was setting up a photography department at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco (now the SF Art Institute). He wrote to Adams and was accepted into the program.
Mr. Johnson lived in Ansel’s house in the beginning and worked in his darkroom. Eventually he moved out and rented a room in the Fillmore which is where he began meeting the early leadership of African-Americans emerging in the city.
Ansel Adams told his students to photograph what they knew. For Mr. Johnson, this meant documenting life on the streets and in the clubs of the Fillmore district. In 1947, Mr. Johnson became a staff reporter for the emerging Sun-Reporter.
After working for the newspaper and opening a small studio, Mr. Johnson continued to document the social, political and private lives of African-Americans living in the Fillmore District – the jazz clubs, street scenes, the civil rights movement in San Francisco, and the neighborhood changes – always with an eye for depicting people positively, with dignity and respect.
See a collection of David Johnson’s award-winning photographs.
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