Cover image of Chester Johnson

Chester Johnson

11 Podcast Episodes

Latest 24 Sep 2022 | Updated Daily

Episode artwork

J. Chester Johnson on the Elaine Race Massacre

Keen On

In this episode of "Keen On", Andrew is joined by J. Chester Johnson, the author of "Damaged Heritage: The Elaine Race Massacre and A Story of Reconciliation", to discuss a deliberately erased chapter in American history, as well as to offer a blueprint for how our pluralistic society can at last acknowledge—and deal with— damaged heritage and follow a path to true healing.J. Chester Johnson is a poet, essayist, and translator. His writings have been published domestically and abroad and translated into several languages. Johnson, whose work has been praised by leading writers and critics over a few decades, has authored numerous volumes of poetry, including St. Paul’s Chapel & Selected Shorter Poems, second edition (published in 2010 by St. Johann Press); the collection’s signature poem remains the memento card for the multitude of visitors to the chapel that survived the 9/11 terrorists’ attacks at Ground Zero (more than a million poem cards have been distributed). As The New York Times noted, “‘St. Paul’s Chapel’ has been used for the church’s memento card for more than 10 years.” American Book Review regarded the poem this way, “Johnson’s ‘St. Paul’s Chapel’ is one of the most widely distributed, lauded, and translated poems of the current century.” The well-known poet, Major Jackson, said of the volume, St. Paul’s Chapel & Selected Shorter Poems, “Undoubtedly, this is a work headed for literary permanence.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


13 Aug 2021

Episode artwork

J. Chester Johnson on the Elaine Massacre of 1919

Bar Crawl Radio

This BCR conversation was quite special for Rebecca and me. We had agreed at the beginning of 2020 to investigate how racism permeates our society, our values, and individual behavior. We continue to want to work on our own complicity in what J. Chester Johnson calls this country's "damaged heritage" which is also the title of his new book. "Damaged Heritage” looks deeply into the 1919 Elaine, Arkansas massacre, when over 100 Black Americans were murdered by White posses and soldiers of the U.S. Military. A central part of this story resides in the relationship Chester had with Sheila Walker; both had family members who were part of the massacre--Chester on the White side and Sheila on the Black. They became close friends. Sheila passed recently and Chester delivered the eulogy at Sheila's memorial. Here is the text of what he said.Mr.  Johnson was educated at Harvard and the University of Arkansas. He was a financial specialist who served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Treasury Department under Jimmy Carter. An essayist and poet, Chester Johnson along with W. H Auden, retranslated the Psalms for The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. Last year “Damaged Heritage” was Amazon’s Best Seller for social activism biographies. Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

1hr 3mins

22 Apr 2021

Similar People

Episode artwork

Pawan Dhingra, HYPEREDUCATION & J. Chester Johnson, DAMAGED HERITAGE

Writer's Voice with Francesca Rheannon

We talk with Pawan Dhingra about his book Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough. It’s an up-close look at the education arms race of after-school learning and academic competitions. Then, a remarkable journey to racial truth and reconciliation undertaken by two Americans—one black and one white. We talk with J. Chester Johnson about his book, Damaged Heritage: The Elaine Race Massacre and A Story of Reconciliation. Writer’s Voice — in depth progressive conversation with writers of all genres. On the air since 2004. Rate us on iTunes or whatever podcast app you use! Like us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon or find us on twitter @WritersVoice. Pawan Dhingra Beyond soccer leagues, music camps, and drama lessons, today’s youth are in an education arms race that begins in elementary school. In his book Hyper Education, Pawan Dhingra uncovers the growing world of high-achievement education and the after-school learning centers, spelling bees, and math competitions that it has spawned. Dhingra shows why good schools, good grades, and good behavior are seen as not enough for high-achieving students and their parents and why the education arms race is likely to continue to expand — and the high cost to kids, families and public education that means. Pawan Dhingra is Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. He is the author of many books and His work has been featured in the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, The New York Times, and elsewhere. J. Chester Johnson The 1919 Elaine Race Massacre saw between a hundred and two hundred Black Americans murdered. It was possibly the worst such massacre in our nation’s history. But history almost forgot it. For J. Chester Johnson, that history was also family history — something he discovered to his shock in 2008. He learned that his beloved grandfather, who raised him, had been a perpetrator in that massacre. As Johnson began researching the story more deeply, he met Sheila Walker, a descendant of Black victims of the Massacre. Together, she and Johnson committed themselves to a journey of racial reconciliation and an abiding friendship ensued. Johnson tells the story of the massacre and the journey of truth and reconciliation its descendants undertook in his book Damaged Heritage. J. Chester Johnson is a acclaimed poet, essayist, and translator. He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U. S. Treasury Department under Jimmy Carter. The post Pawan Dhingra, HYPEREDUCATION & J. Chester Johnson, DAMAGED HERITAGE appeared first on Writer's Voice.

1hr 5mins

3 Sep 2020

Episode artwork

J. Chester Johnson - Interview #629 (6/15/20)

Write The Book: Conversations on Craft

American Poet, Essayist and Translator J. Chester Johnson, whose new memoir is Damaged Heritage: The Elaine Race Massacre and A Story of Reconciliation (Pegasus). This week’s Write the Book Prompt is to consider your own family’s leanings when it comes to filiopietism, that veneration, often excessive, of ancestors or tradition. Does this exist in your own circle of relatives? Do people excuse behaviors because it’s just how the family has always been? Do you have beliefs based largely on what you were raised to think but have never questioned? Are there, even,  certain artifacts hidden away in your home that you keep simply because they belonged to a great grandfather or grandmother? If so, think about why you keep them, why you believe what you believe, why you cling to what you cling to, what you might shed of your family’s past if you could (or what you would not), and then write about it. Good luck with your work in the coming week, and tune in next week for another prompt or suggestion. Music Credit: Aaron Shapiro


15 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Episode artwork

J. Chester Johnson Interview Episode 18


In this episode, Matt Crawford speaks with author and poet J. Chester Johnson about his book Damaged Heritage. This is an amazing story of reconciliation between a black woman and a white man. Johnson writes about his loving grandfather who raised him and then learning that the same man had participated in the Elaine Race Massacre. Chester then connects with a descendant of that massacre. Truly impactful and moving this is a book that begs to be read now more now than ever.

1hr 4mins

4 Jun 2020

Episode artwork

Suzanne Lang Talks with J. Chester Johnson – May 31, 2020

KRCB-FM: A Novel Idea

White people kill black people. Despite Emancipation, despite the Civil Rights movement of now over fifty years ago, white people still kill African Americans in cold blood. In 1919 in the state of Arkansas in the fertile area of the Mississippi River, in a town called Elaine over the course of a couple of days, over 100 African Americans were slaughtered, as well as five white men in what came to be known as the Elaine Race Massacre. Damaged Heritage: the Elaine Race Massacre and a Story of Reconciliation is J. Chester Johnson’s historical memoir that tells of that ugly spell of history and takes us further on his own journey of reconciliation with his own family’s participation in those events of a century ago. Suzanne M. Lang talks with Johnson on KRCB’s A Novel Idea. A Novel Idea airs on the first and fifth Sundays of every month at 10:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ norcalpublicmedia.org /Download the FREE KRCB mobile app @ iTunes & Google Play! https://media.krcb.org/podcast/a_novel_idea/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/A_Novel_Idea_20200531_ChesterJoh_MAY_31.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download Subscribe: Android | RSSClick the icon below to listen.

1 Jun 2020

Episode artwork

J. Chester Johnson discusses the Elaine race massacre. (5/26/20)

Leonard Lopate at Large on WBAI Radio in New York

The 1919 Elaine race massacre, despite possibly being the worst race riot in our country’s history, has been widely unknown for the better part of a century. In 2008, when the Episcopal Church formally apologized for its role in transatlantic slavery and related evils, J. Chester Johnson was asked to write the Litany of Offense and Apology for what was to be a National Day of Repentance. In his research, Johnson came upon a treatise by historian and anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells on the Elaine massacre, where more than 100 (and possibly hundreds) of African-American men, women and children perished at the hands of white posses, vigilantes and federal troops in rural Phillips County, Arkansas. His new book “Damaged Heritage: The Elaine Race Massacre and A Story of Reconciliation” not only investigates what happened in Phillips County on that terrible day but examines the ways that the past is still with us. Join us for the untold story of the Elaine Race Massacre in this installment of Leonard Lopate at Large on WBAI.


26 May 2020

Episode artwork

Author J. Chester Johnson discusses #DamagedHeritage on #ConversationsLIVE

"Conversations LIVE!" with Cyrus Webb

Host Cyrus Webb welcomes author J. Chester Johnson to #ConversationsLIVE to discuss the new book DAMAGED HERITAGE.


18 May 2020

Episode artwork

#1817 - Auden, the Psalms, and Me: J. Chester Johnson

Things Not Seen Podcast

Poet J. Chester Johnson helped with an English translation of the Psalms for the Book of Common Prayer, following in the footsteps of W.H. Auden Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


14 Mar 2019

Episode artwork

Episode 140 - Chester Johnson: Auden, the Psalms and Me

Crackers and Grape Juice

One of the members for the retranslation of the Psalms in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, J Chester Johnson shares his experience of not only interpreting the Psalms but also how this poetic form of scripture still speaks for the church today.


23 Feb 2018