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The Life And Accomplishements As Well As Trials Of James Weldon Johnson.

1440 words - 6 pages

AbstractJohnson was born June 17,1871 in Jacksonville, Florida to James and Helen Louise Johnson. Johnson's father, James Johnson, was born a freeman and was of mixed ancestry. Even though, he is no longer living, James Weldon Johnson has left much about his contributions to African American literature. He was a writer, diplomat, professor, and editor, who also described himself as a man of letters and a civil rights leader. He was the author of the Black National Anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and he will always be remembered for his great contributions not only to blacks, but also to America.James Weldon Johnson, was born June 17,1871 in Jacksonville, Florida to James and Helen Louise Johnson. Mr. James Johnson taught his son how to speak Spanish as a young boy. Johnson's mother, Helen Johnson, was born a free woman in the West Indies. Mrs. Helen was a woman of French and Black ancestry. She was the first black American to teach in the state of Florida. Mrs. Helen also taught her son to play the guitar (Otfinoski 22). Johnson was born the second of three children: John Rosamond, also known as "Rozy," and a sister that died shortly after birth (Logan and Winston, " James Weldon Johnson" 353). He was originally named Johnson "James William Johnson," by his parents, but in 1913, he changed his middle name to Weldon (Kranz, "James Weldon Johnson" 78). Even though, he is no longer living, James Weldon Johnson has left much about his contributions to African American literature. He was a writer, diplomat, professor, and editor, who also described himself as a man of letters and a civil rights leader, Johnson was a well-educated man of his time.During his first few years of school he attended, Stanton, which offered blacks an education up to the eight grade. Stanton was one of the best black schools in Johnson's hometown. He graduated from Stanton at the age of 16 and went on to attend a secondary school and college at Atlanta University. Johnson attended Atlanta University in Georgia because there were no schools beyond grammar school for blacks in Jacksonville, Florida and the university ran a special high school program for blacks (23,28). Johnson furthered his education at the university believing that it would educate him more in his interest of black people (Adams 155). In 1894, Johnson graduated with honors from Atlanta University receiving his bachelor's degree. He also gave the graduation speech (Kanzs 77-79).During Johnson's lifetime he had many careers helping others and writing. Johnson was a poet, songwriter, editor, civil rights leader, lawyer, educator, and diplomat (Metzger et. al. 303). Russell L. Adams, author of Great Negroes Past and Present, stated, "Johnson had a talent for persuading people of differing ideological agendas to work together for a common goal . . . " (Adams 77-79). Paying his own way through school, Johnson worked in a lathe factory during college and in the summer at a rural school teaching in Georgia, which...

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