The Last


at Harvard

The Class of 1963 and the 18 Young Men Who Changed Harvard Forever

Meet the 18: Lowell Johnston

Lowell Johnston
Born: Washington, DC, 1941
Prepared at: Kent School, Kent, CT

I always make people sure very shortly after they meet me that I am a Black person, because I don't want to have to listen to any negative racial jokes. And I'm not sure that I'm very often taken very seriously by whites as a Black person, although I think I'm as Black as anybody.

Lowell grew up in a well-educated upper middle class home in the thriving Black community around Howard University in Washington, DC. He attended the Kent School, a private prep school in Connecticut, where, as one of two Black students, he first spent considerable time with whites. At Harvard he majored in Government. After his undergrad years at Harvard, Lowell got involved with the Civil Rights movement -- he went to Mississippi, was principal of a Freedom School, and worked with other students at the 1963 March on Washington. Lowell went on to Harvard Law School and then spent two years in the Peace Corps. He spent his career as a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and in private practice.