Mayor's Office For Adult Literacy


Our first nominated individual for MOAL’s Spotlight was actually nominated twice. Please continue reading below to learn more about what Dr. Manson B. Johnson, II contributed to the adult literacy and education field.

Manson Johnson

Dr. Johnson began serving as Holman Street Baptist Church Shepherd-Teacher starting in 1977. He was born in Nashville, Tennessee and reared in Starkville, Mississippi. His father was a pastor and his mother a schoolteacher. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in History and Government from Texas Southern University and a degree in mathematics from Prairie View A & M University, Dr. Johnson went into the field of education and began teaching at Cullen Middle School in the Houston Independent School District.

Dr. Johnson was a TSU Foundation Board of Trustee where his work was noted as “treasured.” TSU Alumni Relations Office described him as “the very fabric that is Texas Southern University.” He served on many boards throughout the city and state including Crimes Stoppers and the Sports Authority. He devoted tireless hours to changing the educational, economic, and physical landscape of Houston's Third Ward and the Greater Houston Area.

In 1998, Dr. Manson B. Johnson, II, founded EastSide University (formerly ESUVCLC) as the educational branch of the non-profit South East Houston Community Development Corporation. Dr. Johnson created opportunity for anyone wanting to complete their education with a second, third, fourth, and up to however many chances it took to get back on the track towards a better life. Together with his beloved wife Zelda, what started out as an English class for a handful of Spanish speaking adults seeking work became an accredited adult education oasis in the middle of a literacy desert. EastSide University remains a place of learning for all people of all ages from all walks of life. 

Dr. Manson B. Johnson II – a historical figure and GIANT in the field of Community Development. Through his forward thinking and “vision-casting” many were trained, employed, inspired, and hundreds if not thousands accomplished their academic goals leading to opportunities. He believed in “staying on top” because the bottom was never an acceptable option, or excuse. Because of his sacrificial offerings to the community, neighborhoods were changed, souls flourished, and many who were usually bypassed found their way to the top. We thank you for your service, Dr. Manson B. Johnson II. You will truly be missed. 

Click this link to view a video honoring Dr. Johnson’s legacy. If you are interested in what EastSide University has to offer check out their website at

If you are interested in nominating an individual for the MOAL Spotlight, fill out the information below.

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