Sonia Johnson

Born:February 27, 1936 (age 88)

Sonia Johnson is a feminist activist and writer, and was a candidate for president of the United States for the Citizens Party in 1984.

Johnson was born February 27, 1936, in Malad City, Idaho, a fifth-generation Mormon. She graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1958. After her 1959 marriage, she and her husband moved to Apia, Western Samoa where they taught English for a year. After returning to the United States, Johnson received her master's and Ed.D. degrees from Rutgers University.Between 1960 and 1976, she taught in various universities as she and her husband and children moved between Samoa, Nigeria, Malawi, Korea and Malaysia. After again returning to the U.S., Johnson worked for the federal Office of Education for a year then became an adjunct professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the University of Virginia.

In 1977, Johnson co-founded Mormons for ERA. In 1978, she testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights. After she delivered a speech denouncing lobbying efforts by the LDS Church to prevent passage of the ERA at a meeting of the American Psychological Association in September 1979, the LDS church excommunicated her. She and her husband also divorced in 1979.

In 1984, Johnson was the presidential candidate of the Citizens Party, Pennsylvania's Consumer Party and California's Peace and Freedom Party, receiving over 70,000 votes.


The University of Utah (n.d.). Sonia Johnson. Retrieved on Feb. 24, 2020, from

Photo: National Women's History Museum