Bookcover: Desire to Serve: The Autobiography of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Desire to Serve: The Autobiography of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Cheryl Brown Wattley — author. 

June, 2024




35 b&w illus. Notes. Index.




Hardcover, E-Book


About Wattley's Desire to Serve

Desire to Serve is the autobiography of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (1934–2023), a thirty-year member of the United States House of Representatives, in her words as told to Cheryl Brown Wattley. It chronicles Johnson growing up in segregated Waco, Texas; attending St. Mary’s nursing school in South Bend, Indiana; working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Dallas, Texas, as a chief psychiatric nurse; serving in the Texas House; being appointed as the regional director for Health, Education and Welfare; being elected as a Texas state senator; and serving thirty years as a congressional representative from North Texas. For each of these positions, she was either the first African American or first African American woman to hold the position.

Johnson’s narrative of the duties and responsibilities of elected officials gives an insider’s view of the way government works—or doesn’t work. Highlights of Johnson’s political career include her support of NAFTA and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act; the failure of the Health Security Act; her support of the Patient Recovery and Affordable Care Act, as well as the CHIPS-Science Act; her service as the chairwoman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and her membership in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Eddie Bernice Johnson has demonstrated exemplary service in the US Congress representing the people of Texas’s 30th Congressional District. I’ve been proud to work with Congresswoman Johnson to grow the economy through investments in transportation, science, innovation, technology, and trade.”—Former president Barack Obama, 2023

About the Author

CHERYL BROWN WATTLEY is professor of law at the UNT Dallas College of Law. She received her juris doctorate degree from Boston University College of Law and is the author of A Step toward Brown v. Board of Education: Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher and Her Fight to End Segregation.

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