Contact: Dennis Gaffney, Communications Coordinator, City of Albany/518-281-7252 (cell)
ALBANY – Today, Mayor Sheehan, joined by members of Albany’s 369th Veterans Association and others, presented the 6th Annual Henry Johnson Award for Distinguished Community Service to Angelo “Justice” Maddox Jr., an Albany businessman, mentor and author, at a short ceremony at the city’s riverfront before Albany’s Jazz Festival. Although Angelo was incarcerated as a young man, he turned his life around, graduated from UAlbany, and has since served as a role model and mentor to many in the Capital Region, including at-risk youth, college students, aspiring entrepreneurs, and people who have been incarcerated.
About Angelo “Justice” Maddox
Angelo has served as a mentor and an inspiration to people of all ages in the greater Albany community. For over 15 years, Angelo, 43-years old, has owned Fresh & Fly Clothing, a premier business, casual and athleisure-attire clothing store for men and women on South Pearl Street. Through his "Motivational Money Making Monday" platform on social media, Angelo encourages and spotlights other entrepreneurs, organizations and movements. Angelo has also devotedly served his larger community through many organizations, including the Downtown Albany BID, the Community Loan Fund, the SUNY Albany Alumni Board, and the Underground Railroad Education Center, and the COVID Recovery Task Force.
Angelo also teaches financial literacy, and created the program S.W.A.G. ("Succeeding With Attainable Goals"), which teaches people of all ages how to thrive in business. He recently published his first book, Change the World by Changing Yourself, which provides an account of his inspiring life story and his philosophy of service, which is available at his clothing store and online.
For over 15 years, Angelo, 43-years old, has owned Fresh & Fly Clothing, a premier casual and business-attire clothing store for men and women on South Pearl Street. Angelo has devotedly served his larger community through many organizations, including the Downtown Albany BID, the Community Loan Fund, the SUNY Albany Alumni Board, and the Underground Railroad Education Center.
Angelo also teaches financial literacy, and created the program S.W.A.G. ("Succeeding With Attainable Goals"), which teaches people of all ages how to thrive in business. He recently published his first book, Change the World by Changing Yourself, which provides an account of his philosophy of self-change and service. It is available at his clothing store and online.
The Henry Johnson Award was created six years ago by the City of Albany and is given annually to a resident who has “demonstrably given of their time and talent to build a better Albany.” Nominees are sought, and the annual Award is given, in the spirit of Sgt. Henry Johnson, Albany’s WWI hero, as a way to honor his selflesness, courage, and drive to go above and beyond the call of duty.
“Through hard work and a dedication to grow his talents, Angelo Maddox has become a successful businessman and a highly respected Albany community leader,” said Mayor Sheehan. “Many are drawn to his character and his service, and want to learn what he has learned: that all challenges are meant to be overcome–and that life’s lessons should be passed forward. As did Sgt. Henry Johnson, Angelo exemplifies courage and selflessness, and we are fortunate to have such a deserving young leader in our community.”
“Receiving the Henry Johnson Community Service Award is a great honor–and I am humbled to be counted among those who have received it,” said Angelo “Justice” Maddox Jr. “I see this award as a higher calling to service and stewardship, and I will do my best to live up to all the expectations that come with it.”
About Sgt. Henry Johnson
On June 5, 1917, Albany resident Henry Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Army. Because of racial segregation and the refusal of the U.S. Army to allow African American soldiers to participate in combat, members of 369th Infantry Regiment, known as the Harlem Hellfighters, fought under the French. In May 1918 Johnson heroically and single-handedly fought off a German raid in hand-to-hand combat, saving the life of a fellow soldier. For his bravery, Johnson was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the first American to receive France’s highest award for valor.
Sgt. Johnson returned to Albany in 1919 and was celebrated as a war hero. But despite having sustained 21 wounds, he received no honors from his home country. After speaking out against racism in the military and the country, Sgt. Johnson was forbidden to speak publicly at military gatherings. He died, destitute, in 1929, in his mid-30s. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Thanks to the tenacity of the 369th Infantry Regiment, Albany advocates, and local elected leaders such as Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Paul Tonko, Sgt. Henry Johnson was finally recognized by the United States government for his service to his country when he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart in 1996 and the Distinguished Service Cross in 2002. In 2015, he was awarded the Medal of Honor—the nation’s highest military honor—by then President Barack Obama.