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Tillmon, Johnnielocked

(10 April 1926–22 November 1995)
  • M. David Forrest

Extract

Tillmon, Johnnie (10 April 1926–22 November 1995), welfare rights leader and community activist, was born Johnnie Lee Percy in Scott, Arkansas, the eldest child of John Percy, a sharecropper, and Gussie Danforth, a field hand. When Johnnie was five years old, her mother died during childbirth, and her father remarried a family friend who helped raise her and her two younger brothers. Like many black families in the pre–civil rights South, hers was poor. They moved to several towns in rural Arkansas as her father pursued more profitable sharecropping arrangements. At the age of seven, she began picking cotton to earn extra money....

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