Bob Buckley speaks with Joyce Johnson, icon who overcame challenges

It was a different time.

"Very different time from now," says Joyce Johnson, reflectively. "Yet, there are some painful similarities."

She was born Joyce Hobson, in the capital of the old Confederacy, back when segregation was still in full force. But the real threat to Joyce's life was that she was born prematurely.

"December of 1946," she notes. "My grandmother would not allow them to take my mom to the hospital because she feared that, 'White folk would kill my baby.' She felt that they would not care for my mother so I was born where there was a pot-bellied stove and the house became my incubator and the community became my family."

Both Joyce's mother and grandmother worked as domestics but they wanted to see Joyce go further ... and Joyce had the what it took to get there.

When she graduated from Armstrong High School in Richmond, Joyce had her choice of schools - almost all of them on full scholarship. Everything from historically black colleges and universities like Howard, Hampton and Emory to the "Seven Sisters" schools like Smith, Wellesley and Mt. Holyoke. But Joyce was determined to change the world and she saw her best chance to do that at Duke.

The classwork wasn't a problem for Joyce, though getting credit for it, sometimes was.

"Some of the biggest challenges I had were in the classroom and there were some professors who just didn't think that I knew as much and it would show up in the way they questioned me," she recalls. "And I know in how they graded me because I would do work with my classmates but I would get a lower grade."

Life has taken some twists for Joyce ... see how things turned out, in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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