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KSMU Profiles Local Philosopher and Teacher, Johnny Washington


For the month of July KSMU is profiling local artists as part of a series on artistic expression and inspiration. In this installment, we look at the life of writer, thinker and philosopher, Johnny Washington. He has been teaching African American Studies and Philosophy at Missouri State University since 1993. KSMU's Jana Greer tells us more about Johnny Washington.

Johnny Washington says he grew up in a rural area, on a farm in Gainesville, Alabama before the Civil Rights Movement.

He's the middle child of six brothers and two sisters. Growing up during segregation, he found a lot of inspiration from leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. He grew up in a Christian home and says his greatest inspiration came from a challenge from his Sunday school teacher.

After graduating from high school, Washington shipped off to fight in the Vietnam War. He says that being in Vietnam made him want to study philosophy.

When Washington came back from war, he got his bachelors degree at St. Xavier University in Chicago and then got his PhD in Philosophy at Stanford University. He has been a teacher ever since and has worked all over the country. He came to Missouri State in 1993 to pursue his interest in teaching African American Studies. He has written three books focusing on African American leader Alain Locke. He says the more he learned about him, the more interested he became.

Washington's books also focus on defining destiny and the continuing evolution of the universe. He says he has been exploring the evolution of robots and artificial intelligence.

Washington says that he now finds inspiration in his students.

Washington plans to continue to teach and write, and is currently working on designing a more efficient search engine for the internet.