Johnny Ford is the Second Vice Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora.
A native of the great State of Alabama, Johnny Lawrence Ford grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama. He has since received 5 honorary degrees including The Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Alabama A & M University in 2004. In August, 1972, Ford was elected as the first African American Mayor in the history of the City of Tuskegee. He served six terms from 1972 – 1996. He was elected to that office again in August, 2004, and again in 2012. Ford, as Founder, in 1984, of the World Conference of Mayors, Inc. (WCM), now serves full time as its Director General. In that position, he continues to work with mayors, and former mayors, and other elected officials, throughout the United States, as well as with mayors and leaders in Africa, in the Caribbean, China, and in the Republic of China on Taiwan, to fulfill the WCM mission to promote Trust, Technology Transfer, Training, Trade, Tourism, and Twin Cities, in the cities of mayors and other elected officials throughout the world.
In addition he serves as Founding Co-Chairman of the National Policy Alliance (NPA), which is composed of the major organizations representing black public policy makers at the local, state, national and international level. The members of the NPA are: the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Joint Center), the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association (NBA-JC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), The World Conference of Mayors (WCM), the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), the National Organization of Black County Officials (NOBCO), the National Black Council of School Board Members (NBCSBM), Blacks in Government (BIG),the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBCLEO), the National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO), and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL).
The Honorable Ford currently also serves as Founding Chair of the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, Inc. (HBTSA), founded as an alliance of 5 black towns that all received the benefit of support from Dr. Booker T. Washington. They are Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, Hobson City, Alabama, Eatonville, Florida, Mound Bayou, Mississippi, and Grambling, Louisiana. The organization is now expanding to include black towns and settlements throughout the country. The purpose of the Alliance is to promote tourism as a means of cultural and economic enrichment for these historic towns and settlements.
-His Excellency, what is your vision of panafricanism ?
I envision Panafricanism as the freeway to building a bridge between Mother Africa and the Diaspora. I first started building such a bridge in 1977 when we established a Sister City relationship between Tuskegee and Banjul, The Gambia. By doing so we laid the foundation which ultimately became The World Conference of Mayors, Inc.(WCM)
– Who is your favorite character in Panafrican history, and why ?
The Honorable Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa. I strongly believe that the struggle against apartheid in South Africa was connected to our struggle for freedom against segregation in the United States. I was a strong supporter of the fight to free Nelson Mandela and I am very proud of how he became President and proved to South Africa, and the world, that a Black man could rise from prison to become the President of his country.
-With the onset of technology and investment in Africa, how do you see Africa and the Diaspora in the 21st Century ?
Now is the time for those of us in the Diaspora and those of us in Mother Africa to seize the opportunity to use technology to build a bridge between Mother Africa and Diaspora. Now is the time, thanks to technology, to cut out “the middle man” so that we may have direct communication between the Diaspora and Mother Africa. As a matter of fact, it was The WCM in our 1987 Convention held in Beijing, China that we helped to introduce the technology of the internet to mainland China. Now China is trying to use technology to take over Africa. No. No. No. We cannot allow China, or anyone else to become “middle man” between the Diaspora and Mother Africa. We must use technology for the benefit of Mother Africa and the Diaspora ourselves, and not allow China or any other country to outdistance us in the technology game.
-What are you planning to do in the future for the State of the African Diaspora ?
In 1987 I was the keynote speaker for the Pan African Conference hosted by the late Chief Moshood Abiola of Nigeria, to speak on the subject of Panaficanism as a way to address hunger in Africa. I said, then, and I believe now, that I believe that through Panaficanism we can begin to address the challenges to Pan Africa in areas such as hunger, health, poverty, education, and other problems by building the strong bridge of Panaficanism. The State of the African Diaspora is the best vehicle, in my opinion, in this age to accomplish this goal. I therefore plan to help strengthen this Panafricanism bridge by using the 7 T’s of The World Conference of Mayors, Inc. (WCM): 1. Trust 2. Trade 3. Tourism 4.Technology Transfer 5.Twin Cities 6. Treasury, and 7. Training. As a Second Vice Prime Minister, you can be assured that I will work with all of my energy to make real in this time, a State of the African Diaspora built upon the concept of Panafricanism, a reality for today and for future generations.