His research interests include African American political thought, American religions, religion in public life, and ethics. He is the author of We Testify with Our Lives: How Religion Transformed Radical Thought From Black Power to Black Lives Matter (Columbia University Press, 2021), co-author of Blacks and Jews in America: An Invitation to Dialogue (Georgetown University Press, 2022) and Tragic Soul-Life: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Moral Crisis Facing American Democracy (Oxford 2012). He is currently completing a manuscript entitled The Law of Race and Public Religions: Talking Book Traditions and the Limits of Originalism, which is under contract with Columbia University Press.
He serves as co-editor of the Duke University Press series Religious Cultures of African and African Diaspora People and editor of the series Race, Politics, and Religion at Georgetown University Press. His essays have appeared in a number of edited volumes, journals,and popular news outlets , including the Journal of Religious Ethics, Journal of Africana Religions, Reading Religion, the Journal of the Society Christian Ethics, and Salon.
A graduate of Morehouse College, Johnson received his M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Brown University.