Friday, April 27, 2007

Release of New Biography About Historic Black Lawyer and Community Leader that Was Murdered by His Brother in Law in 1915 at the Age of 39

Release of New Biography About Historic Black Lawyer and Community Leader that Was Murdered by His Brother in Law in 1915 at the Age of 39.

James Robinson Johnston was only the second Black in Atlantic Canada to earn a law degree and be called to the Bar. As a committed activist and advocate for equal rights and for better educational opportunities for Blacks, he was considered to be one of the most promising Black leaders of his day. James Robinson Johnston died tragically and senselessly at the age of thirty-nine, denying Nova Scotians one of their brightest young leaders. Justin Johnston, the great grandnephew of James, has undertaken this study of an extraordinary man, a unique Nova Scotian. Written for a younger audience, the biography is a wealth of information with photographs and letters from the personal files of the Johnston family.

(PRWEB) February 27, 2005

James Robinson Johnston: The Life Death and Legacy of Nova ScotiaÂ’s First Black Lawyer

James Robinson Johnston (1876–1915), known as “Lawyer Johnston” to many, is an important figure in Nova Scotia history: he was only the second Black in Atlantic Canada to earn a law degree and be called to the bar. He was considered one of the most promising black leaders of his day. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1876, James R. Johnston graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1898. A committed activist and advocate for equal rights for blacks and for better educational opportunities for blacks, James Robinson Johnston died tragically and senselessly, at the age of thirty-nine, denying Nova Scotians one of their brightest young leaders. Almost ninety years after his murder, the legacy of James Robinson Johnston has begun to be restored.

This biography deals with JohnstonÂ’s personal and professional life, his role as a brilliant lawyer, community man and husband. It also deals with the sensitive issue of his death at the hands of his brother-in-law, Harry Allen, which caused a scandal when it occurred in March 1915. Author and James R. Johnston descendant Justin Johnston looks at the associated impact his death and the killerÂ’s trial had on Nova Scotia's Black community, both past and present.

At the pinnacle of his career, Johnston was one of the best lawyers that the province and country had ever seen, but how exactly did a man of such greatness and potential meet a tragic end? Unfortunately the circumstances of Johnston's death have overshadowed the significance of his life and causing him to be largely forgotten for the better part of the last century. This story of a “forgotten hero” reclaims Johnston, while examining the historical factors and racial climates that influenced this man's extraordinary life. Justin Johnston weaves family lore with history, and includes rare photographs of "the lawyer," his family and friends, as well as personal correspondence and private papers from the family vaults.

Justin Marcus Johnston is a graduate of University of Ottawa with a bachelor's degree in history. He has also attended other universities as a visiting student, namely Saint Mary's University and Jilin University (Changchun, China). He is a world traveller, having visited more than seven countries, mostly in Asia. This is Justin's first book.

Professor David Divine is a the James R. Johnston Chair for Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University, a unique senior academic post in Canada.

Justin Marcus Johnston

Forward by Professor David Divine

$14.95, 5.75 x 8.5, 128 pp., paper

B/w illustrations

ISBN 1-55109-509-2

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