Charlie Johnson was born on September 10, 1942 in Baltimore, Maryland. Attending Dunbar Senior High School in Baltimore, he studied business and was a member of both the school’s band and baseball team. After graduating in 1960, he attended Morgan State University.
Upon graduation from Morgan State, Johnson became a combat medic with the United States Army. He was stationed in Germany with the 8th Infantry Division and held the rank of Special 4th Class before being discharged in 1967.
After serving in the army, Johnson returned to Baltimore and became an administrator and teacher. He taught Social Studies, Science, and English in Special Education classes at Robert Poole Middle School for 10 years. He also taught at the Rowland Park Elementary-Middle School for 17 years before becoming acting principal for 1 year. He served as assistant principal and department head for the Special Education Department as well. In addition, Johnson was a long-time employee of both Walbrook Senior High School in Baltimore, where he was the assistant principal, and the Northern High School in North East Baltimore.
Johnson married Arthuratte Johnson on September 23, 1973. They have two children—a son, Benjamin, and a daughter, Candre. They also have one grandchild, Alicia.