From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Johnson, Jessica Grimm "Judy"

(born: 1909  -  died: 2003) 

Jessica Grimm Johnson was born in Lexington, KY. When she was a child, her family moved to Clifton, OH. She later moved to Buffalo, NY with her husband, Ralph Johnson.

Judy Johnson is remembered as a trailblazer for African American woman in Buffalo and New York politics. She was secretary to the first woman elected to the Buffalo Common Council, the first woman to become Director of the License Bureau in 1965, and a confidential aide to the Mayor (the first woman and African American to serve in the Mayor's inner cabinet). She was elected Chair of the 13th Ward Masten District Democratic Committee in 1968 and Assistant Treasurer of the New York Democratic Committee in 1973, then  Treasurer in 1975.

In 1976, Johnson was the first African American woman to be appointed City Treasurer, the same year she became the first woman and African American to be elected Senior Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic Party.

For more see "Jessica Johnson, pioneer in city and state politics, dies at 94," Buffalo News, 9/26/2003, Local section, p. C4.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Buffalo news (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Johnson, Jessica Grimm "Judy",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 2, 2023,

Last modified: 2023-03-03 18:57:45