Carl James Johnson was born in 1945 in Willow Run, Michigan. His family moved to Ann Arbor when he was seven years old, after his mother suffered a stroke. He attended Jones School and Tappan Junior High and participated in the French Dukes drill team in the early 1960s. Johnson served in Vietnam in the Navy Seabees unit, where his drill experience spared him from direct action. For most of his career he worked as a caterer at the University of Michigan and Domino Farms. He celebrates his Black and Native American heritage by volunteering on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Ann Arbor News, September 19, 1963
Landscape Changing: Sprawling new construction at the Willard J. Maxey Boys' Training School is becoming an important new aerial landmark west of Whitmore Lake. In the first construction area at the left of this aerial photograph structural steel is rising for a new school building. Masonry walls are about one-third completed for a 140-boy housing unit going up in the second construction area, background. In the foreground is the school's new reception center and classroom building. Another housing and special treatment unit accommodating 162 boys is located down the road from the reception center. It is not shown in this photograph.
Planning of First Protestant Vacation Bible School at Willard J. Maxey Boys' Training School, June 1964 Photographer: Ted Rancont Jr
Ann Arbor News, June 29, 1964
Planning Bible School: Ministers and church representatives from more than a dozen area Protestant congregations met at the state-owned Willard J. Maxey Boys' Training School over the weekend to plan the institution's first organized vacation Bible school. From left to right, seated, are Robert Davis, Mrs. Oral Euper, Mrs. Blair Race (extreme left), Mrs. Harry Colstock, BTS chaplain Simmie P. Holland, BTS athletic coach Bernard Bryant, the Rev. Alton A. Glazier, Mrs. Ruth Sykes, Mrs. Carol Hodges and Mrs. Sherman Richards. Standing (left to right) are A. J. Creel, the Rev. C. W. Carpenter and BTS instructor Harold Stone.