Interview with Hall of Fame Founder’s Honor Recipient – Harvey C. Johnson

Harvey C. Johnson is being honored with the first-ever Camden Schools Foundation Founder’s Honor! We are so excited to celebrate his achievements and to have him join the Camden Schools Foundation Hall of Fame on May 20th!

The Camden Schools Foundation sat down with Harvey to find out more about his thoughts on the Hall of Fame, his legacy of service, and his advice to the students in Camden. You can read his full bio here.

What does being honored by the Camden Schools Foundation mean to you?
The Camden Schools Foundation has raised over $1.3 million over the past 15 years to provide scholarships to graduates of Camden Public Schools, funding for STEM programs, and funding to the Camden City School District for special programs that were not funded by the state or city taxes. Receiving this award shows that those efforts have not been in vain.

What do you hope your legacy of service will be for future generations?
My service and that of others on the Foundation will show that you can make significant changes in the social conditions of America if you work hard at it and do it consistently over a long period of time.

What are some of the greatest lessons serving the Camden community has given you?
It has shown me that parents of all races and creeds want the best possible life for their children and that they will work hard to make that happen. It has also shown me that students who are impoverished and in terrible neighborhoods and schools will strive for a better life.

What wisdom would you like to share with the youth in Camden today?
I am convinced that the key to young people being successful is for them to get the best education possible and to be involved in economic development activities that generate wealth for their families.

Who would you like to thank who has helped you reach your goals?
I would start with my mother Carrie O’Neal Johnson and my grandparents Frances and Sidney O’Neal raised me and my two brothers, Lawrence and William. I would thank all of my Aunts and Uncles who helped raise us.

I would also thank the love of my life Fern and all of our children and grandchildren. All of these people have taught me about the need for family unity.

I would then thank my teachers such as Bonnie Fredricks who was my fifth-grade teacher who saw promise in me and Vida Dugan who was my high school geometry teacher who took me and several other students to visit colleges and Jack Herbert who was my football coach.

My classmates at Overbrook Regional in Lindenwold who for three years elected me class president and for two years captain of the football team.

Educationally, I would thank Bernard Wolfman who was the Dean of Penn Law School and was the teacher of my senior class seminar where I wrote a paper entitled “Taxes Incentives As a Means of Eliminating Poverty” which was submitted to Harvard Press for publication.

Professionally, I would like to thank Charles Poppy Sharp, Dr. Charles Brimm and Drs. Flora and William Young who taught me that you have to give Black people the courage to stand up for their rights.

Politically, I would like to thank Mayors Primas, Faison, Wardlow, Tarditi, Blunt, Poindexter, and Errichetti, Medany and Carstarphen, Senators Sweeney, Rand and Cruz-Perez and Assemblyman Spearman.

I would also like to thank Hersh Kozlov, Esq. who has been my friend for over 50 years who made me a Partner at the law firm of WolfBlock and subsequently Duane Morris.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the grassroots people who helped me and supported me along the way.