James Weldon Johnson

Author, songwriter, and civil rights activist


James was born June 17, 1871 in Jacksonville, Florida. As a child, he was homeschooled, before attending Edwin M. Station School. At 16, he attended Clark Atlanta University ans graduated in 1894. He joined the Great Migration with his brother, Rosamond, and moved to New York City. In 1910, he married Grace Nail. He had died 28 years later in Wiscasset, Maine in a tragic car accident.

"I believe it to be a fact that the colored people of this country know and understand the white people better than the white people know and understand them."


James was not only an extremely successful author and poet but he was also a civil rights activist. He was leader of the NAACP(National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in 1917. He was also appointed US consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua under President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1934, he was the first African-American to be hired as a Professor at New York Unversity.
James Weldon Johnson's poem "The Creation"