Born in Winston County, Alabama in 1918, Frank M. Johnson, Jr. transcended the prejudices of his time and made his mark as one of the great jurists in American history.
He married his Winston County sweetheart, Ruth Jenkins, in 1938. During World War II, he served in the infantry under General Patton. Twice wounded, he returned to Alabama in 1946 to practice law. In 1955, President Eisenhower appointed him federal district judge for the Middle District of Alabama, and, in 1979, President Carter elevated him to the United States Court of Appeals.
Hero in war and peace, Judge Johnson enforced the rights of forgotten segments of society. In the face of unremitting social and political pressure to uphold entranced traditions of oppression and neglect, he did not yield. His landmark decisions in the areas of desegregation, voting rights, civil liberties, mental health and prison reform inspired the nation and transformed its understanding of the United States Constitution. Ever true to his "Free State of Winston" roots, Judge Johnson gave full meaning to the principle of equality under the law.
Though his service as a federal judge kept him in Montgomery, Judge Johnson's heart always remained here in Winston County.