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Judith R. Johnson

cabinet member and ambassador, was born in Mattoon, Illinois, the daughter of Bert Fitzgerald Roberts, a Pullman car waiter, and Hildren Brodie Johnson, a schoolteacher. After graduating from a Chicago high school, she entered Howard University, from which she graduated, summa cum laude, with an AB in 1945. In 1943, while a student at Howard, she joined the nascent civil rights movement and participated in a sit-in to desegregate a cafeteria lunch counter in Washington, D.C. In 1946, while attending graduate school at the University of Chicago, Roberts was also program director of the local YWCA. In 1949 she returned to Washington, where she pursued further graduate study at American University until 1950. From 1949 to 1953 she served as an assistant director in the Civil Rights Agency of the American Council on Human Rights. She was married in 1955 to the ...