Michael Darmond Johnson was born on October 27, 1986 to Emmett and Gloria Johnson in Jackson, MS.
Michael grew up with a special love for baseball, and as a young child, his talent and skills were readily apparent. While in high school, Michael played shortstop for the Murrah High School baseball team and had signed a scholarship to play shortstop at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. A scout from the Washington Nationals baseball team had plans to follow Michael’s two year college career at Copiah-Lincoln with hopes of signing him. In addition to baseball Michael also excelled in the game of basketball. As the starting point guard for Murrah’s 2005 basketball team, Michael helped lead his team to win the Mississippi Class 6A State Championship by hitting the decisive free-throws in the final seconds of the game.
Michael D. Johnson was killed on June 4, 2005 by a drunk driver (repeat offender), who was also killed in the accident. Michael was scheduled to play a debut game with his new college team and teammates on that same day.
The Michael D. Johnson Memorial Foundation was created in 2009 to honor and preserve the life and memory of Michael D. Johnson, gone too soon at the age of 18. In his memory, the Michael D. Johnson Memorial Foundation Athletic Scholarship was created to award one deserving Jackson Public School (JPS) student a $1500 annual scholarship (totaling one full college semester as a Freshman) to be used towards their college education. Through donations and fundraisers we have been able to award scholarships to JPS students. At this time, this scholarship opportunity is only available to all JPS students who meet the criteria of: a high school senior, 2.5 minimum GPA, member of a school sponsored varsity athletic program, metro Jackson (MS) resident, provide three letters of recommendation or letters of reference, complete minimum of 20 hours of volunteer community service, and submit a typed or hand written minimum 250 word/maximum 500 word essay on “why they should be selected to receive the scholarship”. The scholarship is made available to the JPS school counseling department and submissions are made through the counseling department. Deadline for the scholarship application is April 30th annually.
The Michael D. Johnson Memorial Foundation 5K Walk/Run was started in 2011 and serves as a fundraiser for the Athletic Scholarship. The Walk/Run begins and ends in downtown Jackson near the War Memorial grounds. Past and current sponsors of the Walk/Run are: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) Pearl, MS Chapter, Entergy, Jackson Public Schools (JPS), and The Mississippi Youth Highway Safety Program. After the Walk/Run, the presentation of the scholarship winner is held at the Michael D. Johnson Memorial Baseball Field (located at 1200 Lakeland Drive in front of Smith-Wills Stadium). After celebration activities (with refreshments ) are immediately following the presentation.
A Resolution was passed by the City Council of Jackson (MS) by Council Woman Margaret C. Barrett-Simon, (Ward 7, Democrat) “Honoring and Commending the Life and Legacy of Michael ‘Mikey’ Johnson” on the 30th day of December, 2008.
Mike’s good friend, teammate, and classmate, Jon (Jonathan) Wiener, was instrumental in getting the Lakeland Drive Baseball Field named in Michael’s honor: The Michael D. Johnson Memorial Field.
Michael is greatly missed but his legacy lives on through the Memorial Foundation, Athletic Scholarship, Memorial 5K Walk/Run, and his family and friends.