Profiles in Black History: Marsha P. Johnson


Tylene Scott, Staff Reporter

To celebrate and recognize Black History Month, members of Northern Highlights will be acknowledging weekly the many important African American figures throughout our history. To get started, today we will be learning about Marsha P. Johnson. She was an American gay liberation activist and is known by many as a proud advocate for LGBTQ rights. 

Johnson also did modeling for Andy Warhol (a famous artist and photographer) and she was very popular in New York City’s art scene during the 1970s. She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, also known as  S.T.A.R. She was an important figure in the Stonewall uprising in 1969. This event sparked a series of protests by gay people who had been unfairly targeted by the police at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.  

Johnson was born on August 24, 1945, in Elizabeth New Jersey. She graduated high school from Edison Highschool in 1963. She set out on her life journey not knowing yet where it would take her.

Johnson sadly died at the age of 46 under suspicious circumstances. She had often been targeted for violence by anti-gay people and the police, but the official cause of her death was listed as “undetermined.” Though gone, Johnson’s influence remains with us today and will not be forgotten.