AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Byline: PATRICK WHITTLE email@example.com
NORTH PORT -- An aspiring author and schoolmate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has watched North Port's black community grow in his 23 years here.
Jacob Johnson's grandmother made sure "Li'l Jake" knew he had a story to tell.
The seeds of the story took root in Columbia, S.C., in the 1920s and '30s, where Jacob Johnson grew up "poor as the devil," raised by his grandmother, an ex-slave.
The valedictorian of an all-black high school, he scrimped and saved enough money doing odd jobs to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he met the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
When his money ran out, he returned to South Carolina, determined to be the first college graduate of a family that had no members with even an elementary education.
He went on to work for the New York City Housing Authority for 31 years, rising to the executive staff after starting as a janitor.
In 1982, Johnson left New York to become part of an emerging black community -- in North Port.
Now on the eve of King's holiday, 78-year-old Johnson is an aspiring author who has penned two book-length manuscripts that he hopes to publish. One, called "Nuff," is about the black experience in America, from slavery to the present. The other, "Lil Jake," is autobiographical.
Two other books, one about slavery and his grandmother, and one about black migration during the civil rights era, are in the works, he said.