James Johnson

James Johnson will be celebrated as a “hidden hero” during an event in Fontana on Sept. 18.

English proverb: “From a small acorn mighty oaks grow.”

In the early 1950s, during the time of segregation, Mr. James P. Johnson enlisted in the United States Army and deployed from New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. Johnson served a tour overseas in France. Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Johnson regained his employment in California with North American Aviation (NAA).

NAA was a major American aerospace manufacturer, responsible for a number of historic aircraft, including the T-6 Texan trainer, the P-51 Mustang fighter, the B-25 Mitchell bomber, the F-86 Sabre jet fighter, the X-15 rocket plane, and the XB-70, as well as Apollo command and service module, the second stage of the Saturn V rocket, the Space Shuttle orbiter and the B-1 Lancer.

Johnson was employed with Rockwell, and in 1973 he lived and worked in Cocoa Beach, Florida at NASA. In that year, Rockwell combined with the aerospace products and was renamed Rockwell International. After working 40 plus years with Rockwell, Johnson retired in 1998.

To tie everything together, in 1968 aerospace technology provided the blueprints that contributed to the first space shuttle that landed on the moon, made by NAA, as well as the blueprints for the parts on Dragon Space X space shuttle that Commander Victor J. Glover Jr., astronaut, piloted his crew to the space lab and safely back to Earth in May 2021.

----- ON SATURDAY, Sept. 18, we invite you all to join us at our annual UNITY in commUNITY Chillin’ and Grillin’ Barbecue Competition at the Sports Pavilion at the Jessie Turner Center at Fontana Park, 15556 Summit Avenue in Fontana.

Save the date! Join us in celebrating a “hidden hero,” James P. Johnson, and welcoming our celebrity guest, Commander Victor J. Glover Jr., to Fontana.

To purchase tickets, check out our site at www.blackawarenessparade.webs.com and also follow us for more information and on more events to come: IG @cc4northfontana, and Facebook: Concerned Citizens for the Development of North Fontana.

Great things do indeed come from humble beginnings.

(Ellen Turner is president of the Concerned Citizens for the Development of North Fontana, which is coordinating the Chillin’ and Grillin’ Barbecue Competition.)

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