Dr. Johnson was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and after graduation; he attended the University of Tennessee at Martin where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Communication. He graduated from Memphis Theological Seminary where he took the Masters of Divinity degree and completed the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Communication at the University of Memphis. Dr. Johnson's dissertation, The Prophetic Oratory of Henry McNeal Turner, was under the direction of Michael C. Leff (2008).
In addition to collecting the writings of Bishop Turner, Dr. Johnson is the author of the forthcoming book No Future in this Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner which the University Press of Mississippi plans to release in 2020. He is the co-author (with Amanda Nell Edgar) of The Struggle Over Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter (2018) that won the National Communication Association (NCA) 2019 African American Communication and Culture Division Outstanding Book Award. He is also the author of The Forgotten Prophet: Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and the African American Prophetic Tradition (2012) that won the National Communication Association (NCA) 2013 African American Communication and Culture Division Outstanding Book Award and the editor of Urban God Talk: Constructing a Hip Hop Spirituality (2013). He also serves as the founder and managing editor of the Rhetoric Race and Religion blog hosted on the Patheos family of blogs. He is also the curator and director of the Henry McNeal Turner Project (#HMTProject); a digital archive dedicated to the writings and study of Bishop Turner.
Dr. Johnson has presented academic papers at national, regional, and state conferences winning awards at each level, has published essays in the journal Religions, Howard Journal of Communications, Southern Communication Journal, Black Theology Journal, The New York Times, Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric and the Journal of Religion and Communication. He holds membership in several national, regional, and state associations in the areas of Communication, History, African American Studies, and Religious Studies.
In addition to what many consider groundbreaking work on Bishop Turner, Dr. Johnson maintains an eclectic research agenda. Ongoing research projects explore the nexus between rhetoric, theology, and the Bible, religion and politics, the rhetoric of President Barack Obama, religion, and media, the prophetic rhetoric of W.E.B. Du Bois, Donald Trump, and more recently, the rhetoric of Tyler Perry.
Michael (Mike) C. Leff's Advisor:
Prentice A. Meador (1938-2008). "War-Time Speeches of Cordell Hull, Secretary of State: Collected and Edited with Introduction and Notes." The University of Illinois (Ph.D., 1964)
Prentice A. Meador's Advisor:
Raymond (Ray) E. Nadeau (?-2001). The Index Rhectoricus of Thomas Farnaby. The University of Michigan (Ph.D., 1950)