ALBANY, GA (WALB) - One South Georgia pastor is reflecting on how his father’s stance against discrimination in the work place helped shape Albany for what it is today.
“He made the change, he made black history right here in Albany Georgia,” said Pastor Yaz Johnson, as he thinks back to a time when his father Johnnie Johnson was on the verge of changing the city of Albany.
“I took the likes of people like my dad to lay the foundation to make easy access for us to be where we are,” he said.
In 1972, his father fought tirelessly against unequal pay and discrimination in the work place.
“260 to 280 employees walked off their job and that caused the largest and the only city wide strike in the city of Albany,” Johnson explained.
That demonstration cost him his job, and forced him to relocate.
Johnson said his father wanted the city to do the right thing, which is what Pastor Yaz fought for, with his father’s name.
“His legacy still lives on and the people have not forgotten about it,” he said.
It took 10 years for the city to agree to honor Johnie Johnson, naming two buildings after him, and signing a proclamation for a day in his honor.
Pastor Yaz said he hopes people are inspired by his father’s actions.
“One of the things that sticks out in my mind every day is when I see the mayor who is black, the police chief who is black, when I see a lot of blacks who are holding supervisory jobs here in the city of Albany, I always have my dad to thank for that,” he said.
Pastor Yaz said its something he’s more than proud to stand for.
“I just poke my chest out a little bit on behalf of my daddy,” he said.
April 21 is Johnnie Johnson Jr. Day in Albany. That was the day Johnson filed a lawsuit against the city.