However, he revealed truths about treatment of Black soldiers in the military. Unsurprisingly, he was told he could no longer wear the uniform. A warrant for his arrest was issued for “keeping the uniform past his duties.”
Despite losing part of his shin and foot, Johnson was not awarded the Purple Heart award and much of the reason was race. His injuries weren’t even listed in his discharge papers, and he never received disability payments.
Johnson died broke in 1929.
For the last 15 years, New York Senator Chuck Schumer has been lobbying to have Johnson posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and recently produced documents proving Johnson did perform his heroic actions. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Secretary John McHugh agree that Johnson deserves the Medal but Congressional authorization must happen for it to happen. According to reports, that is in progress.