THE HONORABLE JOHNNY FORD
A native of the great State of Alabama, Johnny Lawrence Ford grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama, the home of Tuskegee University, “The Pride of The Swift-Growing South”, also the home of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. At the age of six he entered Washington Public Elementary School (named in honor of Dr. Booker T. Washington), and at17, he graduated from Tuskegee Institute High School in 1960. He attended Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee, assisted by an academic and a football scholarship, and graduated in 1964 with a B.A. degree in history and sociology. He received a Masters of Public Administration degree from Auburn University at Montgomery. He has since received 5 honorary degrees including The Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Alabama A & M University in 2004.
Ford began his professional career as a Scout Executive in New York City, raising funds to support the Boy Scout Program, but that was interrupted when his friend Earl Graves (who later became the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise Magazine) invited Ford to join him as a staff member of Senator Robert Kennedy’s campaign for President. Ford’s work in 1968 with Kennedy to mobilize the minority vote was the beginning of his political career. After Kennedy’s assassination, Ford returned to Tuskegee to work as the Executive Coordinator of the Tuskegee Model Cities Program. In August, 1971, Ford was appointed by the then U.S. Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, and sworn in to serve as the State Supervisor of the Community Relations Alabama Office of the U.S. Department of Justice. On April 15, 1972, Ford resigned to run for mayor of Tuskegee.
In August, 1972, Ford was elected as the first African American mayor in the history of the City of Tuskegee. He served six terms from 1972 – 1996. In 1998, he was elected Representative from District 82 to the Alabama State Legislature, where he served on the County and Municipal Government Committee, the Lee County Legislation Committee, the Health Committee, the Tourism and Travel Committee, and was Chair of the House Local Legislative Committee. The Honorable Ford retained his legislative position until his return to office as mayor of Tuskegee. He was elected to that office again in August, 2004, and again in 2012.
Having been unsuccessful in returning to the office of mayor of Tuskegee in 2016, Ford, as Founder, in 1984, of the World Conference of Mayors, Inc. (WCM), now serves full time as its Secretary General. In that position, he continues to work with mayors, and former mayors, and other elected officials, throughout the United States, as well as with mayors and leaders in Africa, in the Caribbean, China, and in the Republic of China on Taiwan, to fulfill the WCM mission to promote Trust, Technology Transfer, Training, Trade, Tourism, Treasury, and Twin Cities, in the cities of mayors and other elected officials throughout the world. For example, while Ford was mayor, Banjul, The Gambia (the ancestral home of Alex Haley) was designated as the Tuskegee Sister City; therefore, he has worked closely with the country, The Gambia, for many years.
The Honorable Ford founded, and served as President-Emeritus of, the National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc. (NCBM), which is now officially, the African American Mayors Association (AAMA). He is Founder of Alabama Conference of Black Mayors (ACBM). In addition he serves as Founding Co-Chairman of the National Policy Alliance (NPA), which is composed of the major organizations representing black public policy makers at the local, state, national and international level, as well as the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Joint Center), the nation’s preeminent think tank focused on issues of particular concern to the African American community. The members of the NPA are: the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Joint Center), the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association (NBA-JC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), The World Conference of Mayors (WCM), the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), the National Organization of Black County Officials (NOBCO), the National Black Council of School Board Members (NBCSBM), Blacks in Government (BIG),the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBCLEO), the National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO), and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL).
The Honorable Ford currently also serves as Founding President of the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, Inc. (HBTSA), founded as an alliance of 5 black towns that all received the benefit of support from Dr. Booker T. Washington. They are Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, Hobson City, Alabama, Eatonville, Florida, Mound Bayou, Mississippi, and Grambling, Louisiana. The organization is now expanding to include black towns and settlements throughout the country. The purpose of the Alliance is to promote tourism as a means of cultural and economic enrichment for these historic towns and settlements. He also currently serves as Chair of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA).
The Honorable Ford was appointed by former Governor George Wallace to be the first African American to serve as a member of the Alabama Foreign Trade Advisory Commission. Ford was a founding member of the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority. He is a past President of the Alabama League of Municipalities, and the first African American in Alabama history to be elected to this statewide position. Furthermore, he has served as a former U.S. Presidential Appointee (President Ronald Regan) to both the National Advisory Committee on Federalism, and the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee on Trade. He was reappointed to the Advisory Committee on Trade by President George W. Bush. This Committee, which has White House security clearance, advises the U.S. Trade Representative on International Trade Policies. When he was appointed, Ford was the only mayor serving on that committee. In 2019, an interview with the Honorable Mayor Ford was made a permanent part of the HistoryMakers Collection at the Library of Congress. On the HistoryMakers Digital Archive it will be accessible for research and teaching at 70 institutions.
The Honorable Ford is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Founding President of the Tuskegee Optimist Club, a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (The Boule), and a member of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, the home church of Dr. Booker T. Washington. He is also a proud member of the Tuskegee Repertory Theatre, Inc. (TRT). (He has had a love for, and has been a participant in theatre since childhood.)
He is married to the Honorable Judge Joyce London Alexander, Retired, Former Chief U. S. Magistrate Judge, of the District of Massachusetts. She was the First Female Chief United States Magistrate Judge in the USA. She is Past Chair of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association (NBA-JC), and Past Chair of the Board of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Joint Center).
The Honorable Ford is the proud father of three adult children: John, Christopher, and Tiffany, and he has four grandchildren.
Why should your Black organization join NPAC?
Much work has been done and there is still much to do. Join and reap the benefits of efforts that preceded your Black organization; roll your sleeves up and move a global effort forward for your Black organization, you, your family and for those who are to come; join in strengthening a united Black organizational voice in Canada and globally. A leader or member of your Black organization could be nominated to be selected by NPA Canada to become one of its appointed members of the Board of Directors and/or to become a Vice Chairperson for the National Policy Alliance Canada.
NPA Canada and your Black organization shall assist Black people and our Black Community to circulate our dollar back into our Black Businesses thereby assisting our Black entrepreneurs the opportunity to assemble our own funds for the growth and expansion of our Black businesses; to create jobs for our the unemployed in our community and to assist young aspiring Black entrepreneurs by providing them the leadership, mentorship and financial resources to start their own business. By circulating our dollar in our own business community first we shall acquire the expected economic development, as other communities have for decades, to build our own institutions which shall enable us to work, prosper and collaborate in unity effectively.
ABOUT NPA CANADA
Our Vision is successfully leading African Canadian and Canadian organizations at our NPA Canada national roundtable.
We effectively deliver our PEACE develop initiative, assisting to address policies of importance to the African Canadian & Canadian community, specifically delivering education policies, history, culture, employment, business development (i.e. creating import, manufacturing & wholesale companies), jobs & unemployment, fatherhood & family development, financial planning & tax planning, health, immigration & creating relationships globally.
How is the National Policy Alliance Canada unique?
Our fundamental commitment is to organizational partnerships. When you put your piece forward, we stand behind you for your support. You will lead. But not alone. In time the idea you thought no one cared about could take flight with the exposure and support it will receive from NPA Canada and NPA United States, here in Canada; in the US and in time, internationally. In addition our older sister, the United States and our younger siblings, in Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere will continue to benefit from the work that preceded them, and will have the comfort in knowledge that foundation was made for them and is therefore likely beneficial for them.
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