This photo shows the April 1953 induction of new pack members, with Johnson standing to the right.
Founding Cub Scout Pack #589 was part of Ernest Johnson's efforts to give African American children in segregated Arlington a variety of activities to help them grow and have fun. As the director of the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation’s Negro Recreation Section, (founded in 1950), Johnson worked tirelessly to expand the Section’s sports, arts, and culture programs for African American children in the County. He oversaw the development of Jennie Dean Field and a new recreation center at Hoffman-Boston on S. Queen Street, known as the Carver Center. The Section also organized picnics, beauty pageants, and socials.
The County recognized Johnson’s abilities as an organizer and developer of programs, and when Arlington desegregated their Parks and Recreation facilities and programs in the spring of 1961, he became the Supervisor of the Centers Section, overseeing “teen clubs, free classes, and meeting of non-Department sponsored clubs in the centers.”
Johnson stayed with the Department until his retirement in 1982. Arlington then celebrated Ernest Johnson Day with a parade, softball game, and testimonial dinner.
Ernest Johnson's work for the County is remarkable in another way: he had the foresight to hire a professional photographer to attend many of the Negro Recreation Section’s activities.
To see more of these photographs, visit the Ernest Johnson Collection, Photograph Collection 218, in the Arlington Community Archives online.