Johnson was a pioneer throughout his life. He was one of five students who helped desegregate Newton County, Georgia, schools in the 1960s. He graduated from the UGA School of Law in 1982. After briefly working in Atlanta, Johnson became the first Black attorney to practice in his home county. In 2002, he became the first Black Superior Court judge to serve in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit when then-Gov. Roy Barnes appointed him to the post. He remained in this role until his death in July 2020.
The inaugural lecture took place in Spring 2021 as a part of the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Desegregation at the University of Georgia.
Submissions from 2023
2023 Judge Horace J. Johnson, Jr. Lecture on Race, Law and Policy with Vanita Gupta, Vanita Gupta, Peter B. Rutledge, Clare R. Norins, John B. Meixner Jr., and Matthew R. Auer
Submissions from 2022
2022 Judge Horace J. Johnson, Jr. Lecture on Race, Law and Policy with Robert P. George and Dr. Cornel West, Robert P. George and Cornel West