Johns, Vernon Napoleon
- Ralph E. Luker
Johns, Vernon Napoleon (22 April 1892–10 June 1965), Baptist pastor and civil rights pioneer, was born in Darlington Heights, near Farmville, Prince Edward County, Virginia, the son of Willie Johns, a Baptist preacher and farmer, and Sallie Branch Price. At age three, according to family tradition, young Vernon began preaching “on the doorstep or on a stump.” Two years later he went with his older sister Jessie to a one-room school four miles from the Johnses’ home. At seven, Vernon was kicked in the face by a mule. The injury scarred his left cheek, damaged his eyesight, and caused his left eyelid to twitch throughout his life. Johns later compensated for his weak eyesight by committing long passages of poetry and scripture to memory....