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A biography of james weldon johnson an american author lawyer and diplomat

Johnson was first educated by his mother a musician and a public school teacher—the first female, black teacher in Florida at a grammar school and then at Edwin M.

Along His Way: James Weldon Johnson

At the age of 16 he enrolled at Atlanta University, from which he graduated in 1894. In addition to his bachelor's degree, he also completed some graduate coursework there. In 1904 Johnson went on Theodore Roosevelt 's presidential Campaign. In 1910 Johnson married Grace Nail, the daughter of a prosperous real estate developer from New York.

Education and Law After graduation he returned to Stanton, a school for African American students in Jacksonville, until 1906, where at the young age of 35 he became principal.

Johnson improved education by adding the ninth and tenth grades. In the 1930s Johnson became a Professor of Creative Literature and Writing at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee where he lectured not only on literature but also on a wide range of issues to do with the life and civil rights of black American.

Rosamond Johnson to work in musical theater. After successes with their songwriting and music the brothers worked at Broadway and collaborated with producer and director Bob Cole.

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Johnson also composed the opera Tolosa with his brother J. Rosamond Johnson which satirizes the United States annexation of the Pacific islands.

In 1909, he transferred to be the US consul of Corinto, Nicaragua. It was only in 1927 that Johnson admitted his authorship, stressing that it was not a work of autobiography but mostly fictional.

Johnson was also an accomplished anthologist. Johnson's anthologies provided inspiration, encouragement, and recognition to the new generation of artists who would create the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s.

They described the reality of black life in America and the struggle for racial identity. The first stage of the Harlem Renaissance started in the late 1910s. These plays, written by white playwright Ridgely Torrence, featured black actors' conveying complex human emotions and yearnings. They rejected the stereotypes of the blackface and minstrel show traditions.

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Johnson in 1917 called the premieres of these plays "the most important single event in the entire history of the Negro in the American Theatre. Poetry Johnson was also a major poet. Together with Paul Laurence Dunbarand the works of people like W.

B Dubois, he helped to ignite the Harlem Renaissance.

James Weldon Johnson

Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, was published in 1927 and celebrates the tradition of the folk preacher. In 1917, Johnson published 50 Years and Other Poems. Activism While serving the NAACP from 1920 through 1931 Johnson started as an organizer and eventually became the first black male secretary in the organization's history. Throughout the 1920s he was one of the major inspirations and promoters of the Harlem Renaissance trying to refute condescending white criticism and helping young black authors to get published.

Shortly before his death, Johnson supported efforts by Ignatz Waghalter, a Polish-Jewish composer who had escaped the Nazis, to establish a classical orchestra of African-American musicians.

According to musical historian James Nathan Jones, the formation of the "American Negro Orchestra" represented for Johnson "the fulfillment of a dream he had had for thirty years. His funeral in Harlem was attended by more than 2,000 people.

The Harlem Renaissance was the most important African-American cultural movement in the twentieth century if not all of American history. It brought the work of African-American writers and other artists to the general public like never before. Johnson penned the poem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" which has become the unofficial black "national anthem. The NAACP became the premiere organization fighting for civil rights and equality for African-Americans in the twentieth century and beyond.