Today I actually show-case two black pioneers people because they have the same name and transcended some interesting cultural and socio-economic boundaries.
I will keep this in chronological order since we are talking about history and time moves forward!
First off, I will introduce the Black country Blues star, the late Robert Leroy Johnson. He was born in May 8th, 1911 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi and died August 16, 1938. His story is one of intrigue because usually in a music career a successful commercial career while living will land an artist into the history books, but in Johnson’s case he was not popular until after his death, eventually becoming a staple in the history of Blues, Country and Rock and Roll. Even the legendary Eric Clapton named him one of his true inspirations.
His late success may have been due to the fact he was performing mostly on street corners and public locations in a time when technology was not nearly as advanced. Thus, making his musical prowess spread by word of mouth rather than through commercial marketing.
Now Robert Johnson is often recognized for some supernatural stories. Some speculate that Johnson sold his soul to the Devil while carrying his guitar at a crossroads in Mississippi as a youth, and in turn the Devil granted him incredible musical talent for a lifetime. It’s also interesting to note that Johnson’s actual grave-site, to this day, remains unknown. OoooOOOOooOO *ghost voice*. I have attached his song Crossroads here for you to hear yourself and appreciate.
Second on the list of the R.L.J.’s is Mr. Robert Louis Johnson. That’s right even the middle initial is the same!
Robert Louis Johnson (born April 8, 1946, yup, born a month earlier than the music star and on the same digit) is the first African American to have a majority ownership of any team in professional sports. He accomplished this feat when he purchased the Charlotte Bobcats on January 10, 2003. Johnson has many notable academic and professional accomplishments, but the one I will specify in this post is that he is also the founder of B.E.T, so being a pioneer seems to be something Mr. Johnson relishes in.
The whole name and numerical linkages between the two are a little freaky, but they are both pioneers and are highly accomplished in their own rights. To the long lost Johnson brothers!