Escaped an impoverished North Carolina childhood to move north and eventually study art the New York Academy of Design. He became an accomplished and celebrated artist, best known for his work in abstract symbolism. Although he work in abstract symbolism. Although he lived to be only 38 years of age, Johnson left behind many respected works including “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Dixie Madonna. “ He served as a role model and inspiration for future generations of African American artists who dared to pursue their craft, exploring new and challenging forms of expression in a variety of media.