Shortly after Stretch arrived at Columbia University, the then Dean of the School of General Studies, Clifford Lord, received a visit from two FBI agents who asked him to get rid of Stretch, saying that he was a former communist and a trouble maker. The dean escorted the agents to the door, saying “Mr. Johnson is a good student here with excellent grades and we are a private institution of higher learning. That’s all that matters!”
Working at night as a proofreader for the New York Times, Stretch was finally getting that college education he had wanted, not only for his children, but for himself. In 1968, he became Director of the “Upward Bound Program” to help disadvantaged youth from New York City enter college. From 1971 to 1982, as Professor of Sociology, he taught in the Black Studies Department at State University of New York, New Paltz campus.