Art Johnson

1992 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee


Parent: R.G. (Jenny) Johnson Sr.
Wife: Barbara Johnson
Daughters: Monica, Shonda, Darla

Art Johnson, one of Flint’s great three sport stars, was raised on the north end of Flint. Art’s brothers, R.G., Jr., Edward and Wilbert all excelled in one or more sports. Art gives Bill Yambrick, and the Mott Foundation credit for the opportunity to excel in sports.

Seldom, in Flint sports, has there been an individual who possessed such talent. On the track at Northern Art possessed a smooth and graceful running style. He set the Pontiac field 220 dash record (22.7) and was Northern’s 100 yard dash champion (9.9), 220 dash champion (21.3), and long jump champion(21’3″). Art was was the City 880 relay record (1.32.2) and State medley record (2.29.7) in 1953. He was the Mansfield Relays 220 dash champion (22.8), the city’s 100 yard dash champion (10.2) and 220 dash champion (23.0) in 1954.

Northern was the City and Saginaw Valley basketball champions in 1952, 53 and 54. Northern also won the Regional Tournament and was runner-up for the State basketball title in 1954. Art was the team’s scoring leader with 242 points and team shooting average of .411. He was selected first team All-Saginaw Valley basketball in1954.

In football Art was a great two-way performer on the 1953 team. He was called “Rabbit” because he was so quick. On the football field he mesmerized opponents with his explosive quickness and moves. On defense his ability for tackling and quick reaction made him exceptional. He was the Saginaw Valley scoring champion with 54 points. He led Northern in scoring with15 touchdowns. Twelve of them were runs of from 30 to 95 yards. In one game against Detroit Catholic Central, Art gained 238 yards and averaged 16.5 yards a carry.

He was selected All City halfback and unanimous All Saginaw Valley halfback. Art was voted Northern’s Most Valuable Player, earned All State honors on the U.P.I, Associated Press and Detroit Free Press All State teams. He was also named the Outstanding Player on the All State team. He was first team on the All Saginaw Valley defensive team and also led Northern in rushing 860 yards with a 9.8 average per carry.

At Michigan State University he played offense and defense from 1956-1958. He scored seven touchdowns and averaged seven yards per carry at halfback in 1957.

Art played professional football for seven years. He played for the C.F.L., Toronto Argonauts in 1961, and earned Rookie of the Year honors. He also tied the Canadian FootbalI League single game pass record with four interceptions. Later, in his career at Calgary of the C.F.L., he led the league in kick-off returns, and made the All Pro Team. Art was a brilliant three sport star worthy of his many honors.

Art is employed at G.M. Flint Truck and Bus as a supervisor.