Johnnie F. Kirvin was born in Dallas, Texas on March 25, 1914. A southern boy, Johnnie grew up economically poor, but rich in spirit. Living under the Jim Crow laws of segregation he learned early to be cautious and alert. Seeking a better life, Johnnie’s mother Lillian moved them west to Los Angeles. Johnnie graduated from Jefferson High School in 1933. An avid reader, Johnnie was fascinated by politics and law. He dreamed of being a criminal defense lawyer, and had a great desire to attend college. He was even accepted into USC; however, he decided to work so he could help out his mother financially.
As a young man, Johnnie worked several odd jobs to assist her before landing a job as a Pullman porter. Johnnie loved traveling, seeing the and being of service, but after working nearly three years as a porter, he was called for yet another journey and was drafted into the army. While in boot camp in Flora, Mississippi Johnnie met Eunice Magnolia Grisham, the woman who would later become his wife and the mother of his five children. Johnnie served in WWII and was accidentally shot and consequently released with an honorable discharge. He later made a career working for the Veteran’s Administration as a Rehabilation specialist, helping veterans obtain resources and assistance while transitioning from the service. Remarkably, Johnnie wrote “Hey Boy! Hey George!” in 21 days while waiting to be selected for jury duty.
“Hey Boy! Hey George!” The Pullman porter, chronicles his days as a young adult working as a Pullman porter until he was drafted in WWII at age 29.