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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

JOHNSON, REV. CLARA LUCIL

JOHNSON, REV. CLARA LUCIL

JOHNSON, REV. CLARA LUCIL (14 March 1900-20 Oct. 1993) was one of the first African American female ministers in Cleveland and the founder of Highlight FBH "Fire Baptized Holiness" Church in MAPLE HEIGHTS which was established during the late 1950s.

Born Clara Davidson in Asheville, North Carolina, to George and Ada (Taylor), Clara came to Cleveland in 1918 and became a day worker. She was ordained as a minister in 1920 and spent several years as a junior pastor at Athens Fire Baptized Holiness Church in Cleveland.

Rev. Johnson spent much of her time in the field work, which involved traveling around the Cleveland area and preaching at tent meetings. While on field work in Maple Hts., she decided to start a church there. For a few years Rev. Johnson conducted services out of the basement of one of the early church members' home. The Highlight FBH Church, located at 5665 Adams Avenue, was built in 1959. Rev. Johnson was pastor for 35 years until failing eyesight forced her to step down.

Rev. Johnson also taught at and ran the Ruth and Esther Bible College for over 30 years out of her home in Cleveland. She taught until shortly before her death, training future ministers.

Rev. Johnson married Alex H. Johnson (died 1978) on 21 Nov. 1923 and they had two sons, Edward and Alexander (dec). Rev. Johnson is buried in Highland Park Cemetery.