Dr. Fred Johnson III

Guy Vander Jagt '53 Professor of History
Profile photo of Dr. Fred Johnson III

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 Target: The 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



  • Tupac Shakur: The Life and Times of an American Icon, De Capo Press, 2010
  • Other Men’s Wives, Ballantine/Random House, 2005
  • A Man Finds His Way, Ballantine/Random House, 2003
  • Bittersweet, Ballantine/Random House, 2002

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 Africa: Interactions 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
Profile photo of Dr. Fred Johnson III
Dr. Fred Johnson III

Phone Number616.395.7592

Lubbers Hall-Room 325 126 East 10th Street Holland, MI 49423-3516
A map showing the location for Dr. Fred Johnson IIILubbers Hall-Room 325 126 East 10th Street Holland MI 49423-3516