illustrations ©2011 Jeremy Love

 

JAMES WELDON JOHNSON

James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) was a a poet, songwriter, teacher, and civil rights activist. In 1916 he became Field Secretary for the NAACP, and in 1920 the General Secretary, a post he held for ten years. He was one of the first African-American professors at New York University, and later a professor of creative literature and writing at Fisk University. In 1917 he published his first collection of poetry, Fifty Years and Other Poems, and in 1927 a second collection, God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse. He also edited three ground-breaking anthologies: The Book of American Negro Poetry(1922), The Book of American Negro Spirituals (1925), and The Second Book of Negro Spirituals (1926). During his later years he turned to non-fiction including Black Manhattan (1930), a history of the Harlem Renaissance, the autobiography Along This Way (1933), and Negro Americans, What Now? (1934), an essay on civil rights.

African-American Classics:
Graphic Classics Volume 22

144 pages, color, $15

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