Funeral details set for former state Sen. Leroy Johnson

Georgia state senator Leroy Johnson. (Bill Wilson/AJC staff)

Georgia state senator Leroy Johnson. (Bill Wilson/AJC staff)

Memorial services for former state Sen. Leroy Johnson — who was the first black lawmaker elected to the Senate since reconstruction — have been set for this week.

A viewing will be held at the state Capitol from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, with funeral services being held at noon Friday at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Johnson died last week. He was 91.

The Atlanta Democrat was known for his success in quietly desegregating the state Capitol and reviving the boxing career of Muhammad Ali.

Johnson, an attorney and former teacher, was elected in 1962 and served through 1975.

Johnson garnered national attention after he was first elected, gaining recognition in black publications such as Ebony.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson last week called the former senator a pioneer.

“He was the highest-ranking black person in America at the time,” Jackson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

State Rep. Karen Bennett, a Stone Mountain Democrat and chairwoman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus praised Johnson's work to desegregate the Capitol.

“Senator Johnson worked tirelessly to make Georgia a place of equity and inclusiveness,” Bennett said. “He was a great representative of the people, he will be missed.”

Read and sign the online guestbook for Leroy Johnson