Picture of author.

James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938)

Author of The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

33+ Works 3,733 Members 62 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Born in Jacksonville Fla. in 1871, James Weldon Johnson was one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. His career was varied and included periods as a teacher, lawyer, songwriter (with his brother J. Rosamond Johnson), and diplomat (as United States Consul to Puerto Cabello, show more Venezuela, from 1906 to 1909). Among his most famous writings are Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, published anonymously in 1912, and God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (1927), the winner of the Harmon Gold Award. He was also editor of several anthologies of African-American poetry and spirituals, and in 1933 his autobiography, Along This Way, was published. He served as Secretary to the NAACP from 1916 to 1930 and was a professor of literature at Fisk University in Nashville from 1930 until his death in 1938. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Photo taken circa 1920s
Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery
(image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Works by James Weldon Johnson

Three Negro Classics (1901) 437 copies
Lift Every Voice and Sing (1605) 363 copies
The Creation (1993) 188 copies
Black Manhattan (1940) 76 copies
The Books of the American Negro Spirituals (1940) — Editor — 64 copies

Associated Works

The New Negro: Voices of the Harlem Renaissance (1925) — Contributor — 430 copies
The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader (1994) — Contributor — 403 copies
The Black Poets (1983) — Contributor — 352 copies
Baseball: A Literary Anthology (2002) — Contributor — 334 copies
Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology (2004) — Contributor — 297 copies
Writing New York: A Literary Anthology (1998) — Contributor — 274 copies
African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 (1997) — Contributor — 246 copies
The Art of Losing (2010) — Contributor — 197 copies
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song (2020) — Contributor — 168 copies
American Religious Poems: An Anthology (2006) — Contributor — 161 copies
Let Nobody Turn Us Around: An African American Anthology (1999) — Contributor — 147 copies
The Vintage Book of African American Poetry (2000) — Contributor — 141 copies
Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White (1998) — Contributor — 117 copies
Voices from the Harlem Renaissance (1976) — Contributor — 105 copies
The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology (1997) — Contributor — 98 copies
The 100 Best African American Poems (2010) — Contributor — 96 copies
Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor (2006) — Contributor — 65 copies
Soulscript: Afro-American Poetry (1970) — Contributor — 40 copies
I Hear a Symphony: African Americans Celebrate Love (1994) — Contributor — 33 copies
Graphic Classics: African-American Classics (2011) — Contributor — 31 copies
Bright Poems for Dark Days: An Anthology for Hope (2021) — Contributor — 9 copies

Tagged

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Johnson, James Weldon
Birthdate
1871-06-17
Date of death
1938-06-26
Burial location
Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Gender
male
Nationality
USA
Birthplace
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Place of death
Wiscasset, Maine, USA
Cause of death
car crash
Places of residence
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
New York, New York, USA
Education
Edwin M. Stanton School
Atlanta University (AB|1894)
Atlanta University, (AM|1904)
Columbia University (1902-05)
Occupations
poet
novelist
composer
lawyer
editor
diplomat (show all 11)
teacher
principal
professor
historian
musician
Relationships
Johnson, J. Rosamond (brother)
Johnson, Grace Nail (wife)
Organizations
American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (charter member)
Academy of Political Science
Ethical Society
Civic Club
Phi Beta Sigma
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (show all 16)
Stanton College Preparatory School (principal)
Fisk University (professor)
The Daily American (founder and editor)
Colored Republican Club (treasurer)
New York Age (editorial writer)
American Fund for Public Service (director)
Bar of the State of Florida
Stanton Central Grammar School for Negroes (teacher and principal)
Cole and the Johnson Brothers
New York University
Awards and honors
Spingarn Medal (1925)
Julius Rosenwald Fund Grant
Honorary doctorate, Talladega College
Honorary doctorate, Howard University
U.S. Postal Service stamp
Feast Day, Episcopal Church (show all 9)
Spence Chair of Creative Literature at Fisk University
Harmon Gold Award (1928)
W. E. B. DuBois Prize (1933)

Members

Reviews

Young man -
Young man-
You’re never lonesome in Babylon.
You can always join a crowd in Babylon.
Young man -
Young man -
You can never be alone in Babylon,
Alone with your Jesus in Babylon.
You can never find a place, a lonesome place,
A lonesome place to go down on your knees,
And talk with your God, in Babylon.
You’re always in a crowd in Babylon.


- excerpt from The Prodigal Son
 
Flagged
lelandleslie | 6 other reviews | Feb 24, 2024 |
Independent reading level: 3rd grade
Awards: none
 
Flagged
Starlight_Lattee | 5 other reviews | Dec 7, 2022 |
Unexpected opening, then got boring as writer passes as white.

Even after witnessing the horrors of slavery mentality - burning a man alive,
he continued to pretend to be white and married a white woman and had children.

His regrets are strange.

The author wrote the words to "Lift Every Voice and Sing,"
and, along with his brother, lived in New York and wrote many Broadway tunes
as he became a leader in the Harlem Renaissance.
 
Flagged
m.belljackson | 1 other review | Sep 6, 2022 |
This book is a work of art, illustrated with linocut prints by Elizabeth Catlett. The introduction gives biographical information on the artist, poet and composer, as well as a history of the song known as the African American National Anthem. The Johnsons were principal and music teacher and created the song for a program celebrating Abraham Lincoln's birthday. The original titles of the prints are listed. The score is included.
 
Flagged
VillageProject | 5 other reviews | Sep 5, 2022 |

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Statistics

Works
33
Also by
27
Members
3,733
Popularity
#6,784
Rating
4.0
Reviews
62
ISBNs
227
Languages
7
Favorited
3

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