Searching for Mildred Louise Johnson: Harlem's First Private School Proprietor and Advocate of Progressive Education

Flowers, Deidre Bennett

With eight young children as students, Mildred Louise Johnson opened a private school, The Modern School (TMS), at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in 1934. As a student in Ethical Culture’s Teacher Training Department (TTD), Johnson founded TMS to complete a graduation requirement. Her school is one example of a northern private school that employed progressive education methods and produced high achieving African American students and graduates. Modestly Johnson described founding TMS as “an accident of the times.”

This blog post is part of the Association of Black Women Historians's Black Women and the Archives essay project. It describes the work of Mildred Louise Johnson, how Dr. Flowers came to know of Johnson's work and Dr. Flowers's continuing efforts to research and document Mildred Louise Johnson's work in Harlem during the twentieth century.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
History and Education
Association of Black Women Historians
Published Here
June 3, 2020


Mildred Louise Johnson, The Modern School, Harlem, Progressive Education, Urban Education, John Rosamond Johnson, James Weldon Johnson