School's dorm renamed in honor of late civil rights pioneer

By The Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 20, 2015 at 1:31 p.m.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — One of the newest dorms at the University of Kentucky has been renamed in honor of the late civil rights pioneer Lyman T. Johnson, who made history at the university over 60 years ago when he sued for admission to graduate school.

Johnson's son, Lyman M. Johnson, and his family unveiled a sign bearing his father's name during a ceremony Wednesday to rename Central I, which opened in 2013, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported (

In 1948, Lyman T. Johnson filed a lawsuit against the school for admission to the graduate school. His action which would later lead the way for admissions at all levels for black students by 1954.

"My father was all about progress and moving forward from generation to generation," Lyman M. Johnson said. "We hope this building is a representation of that."

Lyman T. Johnson received a bachelor's degree in Greek from Virginia Union University and a master's degree in history from the University of Michigan. In 1949, he started his doctorate at the University of Kentucky, but did not finish that degree. He was awarded an honorary degree in 1979.

Among his other many accomplishments, Lyman T. Johnson taught at Louisville Central High School for more than 30 years before becoming an administrator for Jefferson County schools. He was also president of the Louisville chapter of the NAACP and worked to integrate swimming pools and other public places.

Lyman T. Johnson died in 1997 at age 91.

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