by Taki S. Raton
Nationally Certified School Psychologist Dr. Umar Abdullah-Johnson will be the featured speaker for this year’s Afrikan Liberation Day observance weekend Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19, at the Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters Hall, 7717 West Good Hope Rd.
Sponsored by the Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters (MBFF), AfrikanSpeak.com, Pursenality, the National Black United Front (NBUF) and the Milwaukee Black Male Achievement Forum (MBMAF), the Friday evening offering beginning at 6 p.m. will highlight African drummers, spoken word artists, refreshments and special guest appearances.
Dr. Johnson will present Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m. Doors will open at 8 a.m.with the expectation of full capacity seating.
The nation – and if not internationally – and particularly America’s Black community was introduced to Dr. Johnson as a result of his renowned insightful comments as a participant in the April, 2011 release DVD film “HIDDEN COLORS: The Untold Story of People of Aboriginal, Moor and African Descent.”
Dr. Johnson has been on a nearly non-stop on demand speaking tour throughout the country presenting to a full house audience base more than eager to drink from his deep well of knowledge, wisdom in insightful historical and cultural critiques. Philadelphian Phyllis Dumond commented after one of his presentation in her area:
“I just finished watching ‘Hidden Colors’ and I was so moved. I have been listening to your lectures on YouTube. I have grown sons and daughters with my youngest two getting ready to enter college soon. This is invaluable information to pass along to our future generations. Please keep up the good work. I will be looking forward to future lectures and the books from you.”
And that comment was but a mere sampling of the force and dynamics of an Umar Abdullah-Johnson lecture.
This writer had the Blessing of interviewing him last January 26, at the South Loop Hotel on the third day of a whirlwind speaking tour in Chicago. His topic on this final engagement in the Windy City was themed the “Psycho-Academic War Against Black Boys” to a capacity filled room of Chicago Public School social workers.
Dr. Johnson is a blood relative of Frederick Douglas, the great Black abolitionist and orator. He is former Minister of Education for the Marcus Garvey Movement, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the African Communities League. A writer, political scientist, and consultant to families, educators, mental health professionals and to charter schools throughout the country, Johnson currently hosts a psycho-educational community lecture series at the African-American Museum in Philadelphia.
The 34-year-old is considered to be one of the most popular faces and voices on the east coast focusing upon the proper education and development of African and African American children.
With a speaking style that many consider “reminiscent” of his late ancestor, Frederick Douglas, Johnson is cited in many published accounts as “a fast rising star in the field of Black psychology and education.” A noted lecture descriptor says of his speaking style:
“Umar possesses the rare ability to hold an audience spellbound for hours as he unleashes a barrage of facts, statistics and practical information that leaves viewers in awe for weeks after his presentations.”
He has presented before embassies, museums, schools, universities, churches, correctional facilities, stadiums, international audiences and at community centers. As he is known to say after his lectures when questioned about his speaking ability, he attributes his oratorical talent to the “Almighty Creator, and to my African ancestors who work through me. I simply open my mouth and their message comes fourth.”
As a school psychologist, Dr. Johnson evaluates children ages 3 to 21 in an effort to determine if they have educational disabilities and a need for special education services.
He is considered a national expert on learning disabilities and their effect on Black children as well as an expert on helping schools and parents modify challenging behaviors that can ultimately lead to disruptive behavior disorder diagnosis in Black boys.
In his child therapist capacity, he specializes in working with at-risk, violent, suicidal and depressed African American boys and girls.
Over the past five years, he served as the youngest of five African-American male school psychologists in the Philadelphia School District, the 5th largest public school district in America.
He has received commendations for his volunteer work throughout the Pan-African community, and has been a featured guest on various Black talk shows throughout the United States.
Johnson is a highly sought after motivational and informational speaker who has presented at workshops, conferences, awards ceremonies, graduations and expert panels throughout the country.
As an educator, psychologist, therapist and historian, he is considered an authority on the education of African American children and on mental health in the Black community.
His diverse array of presentations and keynotes have included such topics as; Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Black Boys, Special Education Law, Black-on-Black Violence, Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder, Classroom Management for Teachers, What’s Wrong with Special Education, Marcus Garvey & Frederick Douglas in Black History, Effective Parenting Practices, Understanding Depression in Black Children, The Over-Identification of Black Children as Mentally Retarded and Learning Disabled, Black Male-Female Relationships, and Preparing Black Teenagers for Success.
Dr. Johnson is founder and Chief Scout Master for the Emmett Till, Hector Peterson and Scottsboro Boys Pan-African Boys Scouts Program and the Queen Nzingah, Harriet Tubman and Birmingham for Pan-African Girl Scouts Program, both of which are independent African mentorship programs for youth.
“We as sponsors and co-sponsors are very excited in grand anticipation of Dr. Umar Abdullah Johnson’s appearance on our Afrikan Liberation Day Weekend,” says Oshi Adelabu of the Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters. He adds that “this effort to secure Brother UmaOshi for this May date has been underway since last January and we look forward to his message directed at the challenging times in which we find ourselves at present in our community.”
Both Friday and Saturday events are free and open to the public. Vendors interested in setting up a booth and those requesting any additional information should call (414) 551-5096