Used by permission from Olan Mills Photography
Born in Navasota, Texas on April 21, 1910, Veora Johnson was the eighth of ten children born to Albert and Annie Blackshear Johnson. She was an Arizona resident for 74 years.
Miss Johnson was selected as valedictorian of her high school class in Navasota, Texas and graduated magna cum laude from Prairie View University in Texas. She earned a degree in elementary administration from Arizona State University and completed additional graduate work at the University of Arizona, the University of Hawaii and the University of Southern California.
Veora Johnson was still a student at Prairie View Normal Institute in 1927 when she was selected by the president to fill a teaching position at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Mesa. After 17 years of teaching, the superintendent asked her to apply for the position of principal and for the next 30 years she served Washington School as the first Black woman in Arizona to hold administration credentials in education. In 1983, the Veora E. Johnson Elementary School was named in her honor. The school is located at 3807 E. Pueblo Avenue in Mesa.
Miss Johnson was a Golden Soror and lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She was a founder and first president of the Delta Beta Omega Chapter of the sorority at Arizona State University and also started the first black Greek letter organization in Arizona, Alpha Sigma.
She was the recipient of many honors including Mesa’s 1953 Citizen of the Year; Who’s Who in Arizona 1958; World Who’s Who of Women, 1974, and was selected as Woman of the Year by the American Association of University Women in 1967. She was also affiliated with many professional organizations such as the National Education Association, Arizona Education Association, and the National Retired Teacher Association. In 1985, Arizona State University awarded Miss Johnson the Medallion of Excellence for her outstanding and significant contribution to the first century of Arizona’s public education.
Miss Johnson held a seat on various Boards of Directors including Mesa Lutheran Hospital, Mesa Historical Society, Sirrine Adult Center, and the Mesa Museum Guild. During her lifetime Veora served on seven boards, two at the state level, one by Supreme Court appointment.
Veora Johnson died in Mesa on November 15, 2001 at the age of 91.
See below for women who have been inducted for their achievements with education in Arizona.