When Marguerita Johnson graduated with a Master’s in Education in the 1930s, there were few teaching positions in the North for an African-American woman. When she was unable to find work in her home state of Illinois, she moved to Florida and taught in a one-room school house until the advent of the Second World War. There she became extremely active in church and civic affairs, primarily in the area of civil rights and, with her husband, raised five children in addition to working full time.
At age fifty-six, Ms. Johnson retired and moved to California. She entered UC Berkeley and obtained a Master’s Degree in Library Science. She found work in Marin, and gravitated to Marin City to get closer to her church and the African-American community. Ms. Johnson quickly became a leader, serving on both the Marin City Community Service District Board and the Community Development Corporation Board. Ms. Johnson served nine years on the Marin County Commission on Aging, including two years as its chairperson. She was instrumental in developing the Village Oduduwa Senior Housing development, which provided low-income housing for the elderly. She also helped establish what is now known as the Marguerita Johnson Senior Center.