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Story: Annie Rose Johnston


Annie Rose Johnston was born Annie Rose Moses on December 1st, 1911 in Burke County, Georgia.  Growing up as one of thirteen on a farm, she learned to pick cotton as a child, despite being blind, and could pick upwards of 150 pounds in a day.  Both her mother and father were also born in Burke County and each had a fourth grade education.  Mrs. Johnston came north by train with her family in 1922 and lived in two rooms in a boarding house.  The first year her mother and brother both suffered with pneumonia and she was sent to a residential school for the blind in New York.

Mrs. Johnston worked as a teacher under the Works Progress Administration both in Newark and in Cedar Spring, South Carolina where she taught at a school for the deaf and blind.  Upon returning to Newark in 1944 she got a job in a factory and stayed there until 1947 when she went back to school for her Masters degree.  She later went on to become a darkroom technician at Martland Hospital where she worked for nearly 33 years.

portrait of Annie Rose Johnston Photo by Bill May