Finally, Johnson was a key figure in making the NAACP a clearinghouse for civil-rights court cases; he collaborated closely with such noted attorneys as Moorfield Storey, Louis Marshall, and Arthur Garfield Hayes in a series of cases defending African-American civil rights and attacking the legal structure of segregation.
Mencken and Mark Van Doren and contributed to the spirit of racial pride and self-confidence that marked the efflorescence of black music, art, and literature in the s known as the Harlem Renaissance.
Retiring to a life as Professor of Creative Literature and Writing at Fisk University, Johnson lectured widely on the topics of racial advancement and civil rights, while completing Negro Americans, What Now? Several of his poems including "Fifty Years," commemorating the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation appeared in nationally circulated publications.
Meanwhile, as head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP during the s, Johnson led determined civil rights campaigns in an effort to remove the legal, political, and social obstacles hindering black achievement.
Rising quickly through the leadership ranks, a year later he became the first African American to serve as field secretaryand later as executive secretary of the NAACP. My inner life is mine, and I shall defend and maintain its integrity against all the powers of hell.
Du Bois, became aware of Johnson through his journalistic efforts, leading to opportunities in later years. During this period Johnson continued to indulge his literary love.
Though he died in a tragic automobile accident while vacationing in Maine in June ofJohnson continues to be remembered for his unflappable integrity and his devotion to human service.
But despite the fact that he built up a successful law practice in Jacksonville, Johnson soon tired of the law his practice had been conducted concurrently with his duties as principal of the Stanton School. Following the flourishing of the Harlem Renaissance in the s, Johnson reissued his anthology of poetry by black writers, The Book of American Negro Poetry, inincluding many new poets.
Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, inand his upbringing in this relatively tolerant Southern town may help explain his later political moderation.
A year later he was elected as president of the club.
Though the paper only lasted a year with Johnson doing most of the work himself for eight of those months before it succumbed James weldon johnson financial hardship, it addressed racial injustice and, in keeping with Johnson's upbringing, asserted a self-help philosophy that echoed Booker T.
Legacy and honors[ edit ]Honorary master's degree from Atlanta University. From his post as field secretary of the NAACP, Johnson was a witness to the changes taking place in the artistic sphere.
In the two spent the summer in New York City, where they sold their first popular song, "Louisiana Lize. Johnson also collaborated on the opera Tolosa with his brother, who wrote the music; it satirized the U.
The rest of the year the Johnsons largely spent in New York City. Starting as a field secretary for the NAACP inJohnson rose to become one of the most successful officials in the organization.
Johnson's writing for the Age displayed the political gift that soon made him famous. By the end of the decade, both brothers were in New York, providing compositions to Broadway musicals.
As the first son of James Johnson and the former Helen Louise Dillet, James Weldon inherited his forebears' combination of industrious energy and public-mindedness, as demonstrated by his maternal grandfathers long life in public service in the Bahamas, where he served in the House of Assembly for thirty years.
By this time, tens of thousands of African Americans had left the South for northern and midwestern cities in the Great Migrationbut the majority still lived in the South. Walton Litz, and Valerie Smith,pp. He continued to publish his own poetry as well. As a result of this trip, Johnson published a series of articles in The Nation in in which he described the American occupation as brutal.
In the segregated system, Johnson was paid less than half of what white colleagues earned. He later resigned from this job to pursue other goals.
In early he and his brother Rosamond, an accomplished musician, collaborated on "Lift Every Voice and Sing," an anthem commemorating Abraham Lincoln's birthday. The boys were first educated by their mother, a musician and a public school teacher, before attending Edwin M.
After becoming president, Roosevelt appointed Johnson as United States consul at Puerto Cabello, Venezuela from toand to Nicaragua from to InJohnson married Grace Nailwhom he had met in New York City several years earlier while working as a songwriter.
School teaching, however, did not satisfy his ambitions. InJohnson organized and led a well-publicized silent march through the streets of New York City to protest lynchings, and his on-site investigation of abuses committed by American marines against black citizens of Haiti during the U.
Over the next 40 years Johnson served in several public capacities, working in education, the diplomatic corps, and civil rights activism.James Weldon Johnson was an early civil rights activist, a leader of the NAACP, and a leading figure in the creation and development of the Harlem Renaissance.
James Weldon Johnson: James Weldon Johnson, poet, diplomat, and anthologist of black culture. Trained in music and other subjects by his mother, a schoolteacher, Johnson graduated from Atlanta University with A.B. () and M.A. () degrees and later studied at Columbia University.
For several years he was principal. James Weldon Johnson distinguished himself equally as a man of letters and as a civil rights leader in the early decades of the twentieth century. A talented poet and novelist, Johnson is credited with bringing a new standard of artistry and realism to black literature in such works as The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man and God's Trombones.
James Weldon Johnson - Poet - James Weldon Johnson, born in Florida inwas a national organizer for the NAACP and an author of poetry and nonfiction.
Perhaps best known for the song "Lift Every Voice and SIng," he also wrote several poetry collections and novels, often exploring racial identity and the African American folk tradition. James Weldon Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in Among the first to break through the barriers segregating his race, he was educated at Atlanta University and at Columbia and was the first black admitted to the Florida bar/5(64).
James Weldon Johnson, born in Florida inwas a national organizer for the NAACP and an author of poetry and nonfiction. Perhaps best known for the song "Lift Every Voice and SIng," he also wrote several poetry collections and novels, often exploring racial identity and the African American folk tradition.Download