On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, Blue Ridge Job Corps was honored to host artist and former nurse Ms. Nancy Johnson. Ms. Johnson was raised in Meadowview VA and grew up in segregated rural Virginia. Her paintings focus on black history and she paints them in a folk-art style with her own unique style featuring butterflies, yarn, buttons and other elements. As well as being an artist and a nurse (for 17 years before retiring), Ms. Johnson is a published author, her first, “The Right Prescription” chronicles her experiences as a nurse. In her second book, “Raised by Flesh, Wood and Plastic,” Ms. Johnson writes about her mother who at 12 suffered a loss of a leg and went on to raise 11 children.
Her mother has always been her biggest hero – inspiring her to become a nurse. She walked 6 miles to school on crutches until her father made her a peg leg. Her mother, despite being an amputee, went on to become a midwife delivering 200-300 babies in her career and encouraged her children to achieve at any cost. Ms. Johnson herself was bussed 60 miles round trip to Bristol every day to attend school as this was the closest for black students.
In speaking to our students today, she told them don’t be jealous – be proud of others achievements. Preparedness is important. To succeed – you must change your attitude and it is all about SELF. She reminded us how much easier it is today to get an education than it was when she was younger. She brought along several of her paintings for staff and students to view.