By: Jacqueline Miles
Saturday morning, the community once again honored Private Rosamond Johnson at Johnson’s Beach Perdido Keys, Florida.
Johnson, who was only 17 years old, saved two other soldiers July 26, 1950 during the Korean War.
While attempting to save a third soldier, he was killed. Johnson was the first Black and the first resident of Escambia County to be killed in the Korean War.
Each year, the Perdido Chamber of Commerce honors Johnson and his family.
His mother, Alice Johnson, was present to acknowledge her son’s memory.
Johnson enlisted in the Army at the age of 15 to help support his family. At first Mrs. Johnson was reluctant to let her son join the Army, but in the end helped to conceal his age so he could join.
When Rosamond Johnson died in 1950, Johnson Beach, which was named after him, was one of a few beaches Blacks were allowed to enjoy during the “Jim Crow” era. Today, Johnson beach is owned and operated by the Gulf Islands National Seashore.