Professional Speaker

Dr. Fred L. Johnson III is delivers inspirational, educational talks to audiences of all backgrounds and sizes. His topics focus on military history, leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Dr. Johnson has an extensive list of publications, including…


Selected Articles and Documentary

  • Why Black Culture Thrives Alongside Rampant Racism,” Washington Post, 2018
  • “Unfinished Business,” Perspectives, 2013
  • “An American Revolution,” Perspectives, 2009
  • “The Chasm is Wide: Unspoken Antagonisms between African Americans and West Africans,” in The United States and West AfricaInteractions and Relations (edited by Alusine Jalloh and Toyin Falola), University of Rochester Press, 2008
  • The Ku Klux Klan in Michigan: The Klan of Reconstruction, documentary film produced with Dr. David Schock (formerly of the Hope College Communications Department), 2004
  • “Called to Teach,” The Church Herald, 2004
  • “Ebony Warriors,” Grand Rapids Press feature, 2002
Publication Logos - The Washington Post, The Grand Rapids Press and University of Rochester Press
2 Book Covers - A Man Finds His Way and Other Men's Wives
Dr. Fred Johnson III wears a dark suit and tie as he sits in a maroon, formal dining chair and leans toward the camera.


Dr. Fred L. Johnson III has taught history at Hope College since 2000. His courses have included:

  • Vietnam May Term
  • S. History to 1877
  • Introduction to Modern European History, 1500 to present
  • History of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1898 to present
  • Revolutionary America
  • S. Military History, 1775 to present
  • History Seminar
  • Civil War America
  • Slavery and Race in America, 1619 to present

Along with completing a proposal for a course on the History of the Black Church, Dr. Johnson is revising his dissertation into the book General Robert E. Lee’s Priority TargetThe Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which examines the strategy of Confederate General Robert E. Lee against the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad during the Civil War. He’s also working on two other projects: a book of essays about acts of love in times of war, and another book he plans to title Schmuck: A Political Awakening, recounting the lessons he learned from his two congressional campaigns.

Dr. Johnson is an award-winning public speaker. A member of the Michigan chapter of the National Speakers’ Association and a member of Toastmasters since 2004, he advanced to the semifinal round of the Toastmasters World Series of Public Speaking in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2016, 2017 and 2018, taking second place in 2017 and 2018.

Prior to his career in higher education, Dr. Johnson served in the United States Marine Corps as a Communications-Electronics Officer and as an Infantry Officer in the Marine Reserves. He subsequently worked as a production scheduler for Packard – Electric Division of General Motors, an operations specialist for Con-Tel Page Telecommunications, and as a corporate trainer for Aircraft Braking Systems (formerly Goodyear Aerospace) in Akron, Ohio.


Dr. Johnson’s primary field of study is 19th century U.S. history, specifically, the Civil War. His other areas of expertise are 20th century U.S. history, U.S. military history and African history.


  • Ph.D., Kent State University, 1999
  • M.Div., Western Theological Seminary, 2015
  • M.A., Kent State University, 1993
  • B.S., Bowie State College, 1981


  • Medal of Honor, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, 2019
  • Simon Den Uyl Faculty Development Grant, 2014
  • Ruth and John Reed Faculty Achievement Award, 2013
  • Hope College Faculty Development Grants, 2004, 2005, and 2007
  • Hope Outstanding Professor Educator (H.O.P.E.) Award, 2005
  • Great Lakes Colleges Association Travel Grants, 2001, 2003, and 2004
  • Favorite Faculty/Staff Award, Hope College student body, 2002 and 2013