Hannibal B. Johnson



Hannibal B. Johnson is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He did his undergraduate work at The University of Arkansas, where he completed a double major in economics and sociology. Johnson is an attorney, author, and independent consultant specializing in diversity & inclusion/cultural competence issues and nonprofit governance. Johnson has also served as an adjunct professor at The University of Tulsa College of Law (legal writing; legal ethics), Oklahoma State University (leadership and group dynamics; business law [MBA Program]), and the University of Oklahoma (ethics; cultural diversity; race & reason; The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot; nonprofit leadership & management). 

Johnson serves on the federal 400 Years of African-American History Commission, a body charged with planning, developing, and implementing activities appropriate to the 400th anniversary of the arrival, in 1619, of Africans in the English colonies at Point Comfort, Virginia. He chairs the Education Committee for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. Johnson is past president of Leadership Tulsa, the Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League, and the Northeast Oklahoma Black Lawyers Association. He served as chair of the board of directors of The Community Leadership Association, an international leadership organization, during 2001 – 2002, is a founding director of the Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, and is past chair of the board of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. He has also served on the Oklahoma Advisory Committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Johnson directed Anytown, Oklahoma, a statewide human relations camp for teens, for more than a decade, and served on the Advisory Board of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest. Johnson served as chairman of board of directors of The Rotary Club of Tulsa, 2015 – 2016, chaired the Club’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee during that same period, and served as the Club’s President during 2018 - 2019. He has served on the Institutional Review Board for Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, and is past chair of the board of directors of the Foundation for Tulsa Schools. He has also served as a member of the board of directors of the Oklahoma Humanities Council. He served on the Programs Committee for the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation and organized the Center’s annual symposium for several years. In 2004, Johnson graduated with the inaugural class of the national “Connecting Community Fellowship Program” based in Richmond, Virginia.

Johnson’s books include: Images of America: Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District; Black Wall Street-- From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District; Up From the Ashes—A Story About Community; Acres of Aspiration—The All-Black Towns in Oklahoma; Mama Used To Say—Wit & Wisdom From The Heart & Soul; No Place Like Home—A Story About an All-Black, All-American Town; Incog Negro—Poetic Reflections on Race & Diversity in America; Apartheid in Indian Country?: Seeing Red Over Black Disenfranchisement; The Sawners of Chandler: A Pioneering Power Couple in Pre- Civil Rights Oklahoma; and Black Wall Street 100: An American City Grapples with its Historical Racial Trauma. Johnson’s play, Big Mama Speaks—A Tulsa Race Riot Survivor’s Story, has been performed at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Philbrook Museum of Art, and at the Just

Governance for Human Security Conference in Caux, Switzerland. Big Mama was selected for the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Johnson is a contributing writer to the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY (New York, New York: Facts on File, Inc. 2010), penning two articles: Langston, Oklahoma and the Birth of the All-Black Town Movement and Edward Preston McCabe—The Father of the All-Black Town Movement). Johnson also wrote and narrated a RSU-TV-produced documentary about Tulsa’s History Greenwood District, Black Wall Street Remembered, that debuted in February 2019. Johnson also wrote a brief historical narrative and discussion guide for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater ballet, Greenwood, that debuted in December 2019.

Johnson’s honors include: the 2019 Community Development Partner of the Year Award from the Tulsa Regional Chamber; the 2021 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book; the 2016 Whitney M. Young, Jr., Service Award from the Boy Scouts of America; the 2015 National Philanthropy Day Award for Diversity and Inclusion from the Association of Fundraising Professionals; the 2013 “The Inclusives” diversity award from Tulsa’s Young Professionals; the 2012 “Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award” from the Oklahoma Bar Association; the “Don Newby/Ben Hill” award from Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry; the “Keeping The Dream Alive” award from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Society; the “Outstanding Service to the Public Award” from the Oklahoma Bar Association; the “Ten Outstanding Young Tulsans” award from the Tulsa Jaycees; the “Distinguished Leadership Award” from the National Association for Community Leadership; the 2005 “Ralph Ellison Literary Award” from the Black Liberated Arts Center; the 2006 Oklahoma Human Rights Award from the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission; induction into the 100 Black Men of Tulsa, Inc. “Hall of Honor” in 2007; and the “Goodwill Appreciation Award” from the Islamic Society of Tulsa in 2008.

List of Previous Speakers


Previous Speakers


Benjamin Jealous, Civil and Human Rights Leader, Former NAACP President


Bakari Sellars, CNN Political Analyst, Lawyer & Activist


Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr. President, Langston University


Maryum Ali, Performer and Human Services Activist


Bob Zellner, Civil Rights activist


Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist


Dick Gregory, Civil Rights activist and comedian


Myrlie Evers-Williams, Civil Rights activist, first female chairperson of the NAACP


Andrew Young, US Ambassador, Congressman, Mayor of Atlanta and Co-Founding Principal and Chairman of Goodworks International


Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, political commentator and educator


Kweisi Mfume, political and business leader


Dr. Nikki Giovanni, poet, author, essayist and professor


Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister Emeritus, The Riverside Church; President and Founder, Healing of the Nations Foundation


Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, Co-Founder, Southern Christian Leadership Conference


Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP


Juan Williams, Author, Columnist, NPR Host


Dr. Scott Ellsworth, Author, "Death in a Promised Land..."


*Rep. Opio Toure, Oklahoma State Representative


Hon. Fred R. Harris, Former US Senator, Member of "The Group"


Dr. G. Calvin McCutchen, Sr., Pastor, Mt. Zion Baptist Church


W.A. Drew Edmondson, Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma


Ms. Diane Nash, Student Leader of the Non-violent Civil Rights Movement of te 1960s


Rev. Dr. James Lawson, Pastor, Holman United Methodist Church, Los Angeles, California


Mr. Morris Dees, Co-Founder, Southern Law Poverty Center, Montgomery, Alabama


*Rev. Wade Watts, Pastor, Jerusalem Baptist Church, Oklahoma City


*Dr. Ernest Holloway, President, Langston University


*Ms. Clara Luper, Oklahoma Civil Rights Leader, Oklahoma City


Dr. Cynthia Hale, Pastor, Atlanta, Georgia


*Dr. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, University of Oklahoma Board of Regents


*The Honorable Hannah Atkins, Oklahoma Secretary of State, 1987-1991


Brig. Gen. Frank L. Miller, Jr., Commander, III Corps Artillery, Fort Sill


Dr. George Henderson, Department of Human Relations, University of Oklahoma


*Rev. JL Davenport, Pastor, St. John's Baptist Church


Dr. Melvin Todd, Vice President, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education


Rev. Gregory Wilson Jones, Pastor, Frederick, OK


Dr. Valree Wynn, Emeritus Cameron Faculty

*Denotes deceased