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The Essential Writings of James Weldon Johnson

By , (Editor), Charles Johnson (Contributor)

eBook published by Modern Library (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
“A canonical collection, splendidly and sensitively edited by Rudolph Byrd.”
–Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

One of the leading voices of the Harlem Resaissance and a crucial literary figure of his time, James Weldon Johnson was also an editor, songwriter, founding member and leader of the NAACP, and the first African American to hold a diplomatic post as consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua. This comprehensive volume of Johnson’s works includes the seminal novel Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, poems from God’s Trombones, essays on cultural and political topics, selections from Johnson’s autobiography, Along This Way, and two previously unpublished short plays: Do You Believe in Ghosts? and The Engineer. Featuring a chronology, bibliography, and a Foreword by acclaimed author Charles Johnson, this Modern Library edition showcases the tremendous range of James Weldon Johnson’s writings and their considerable influence on American civic and cultural life.

“This collection of poetry, fiction, criticism, autobiography, political writing and two unpublished plays by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) spans 60 years of pure triumph over adversity. [….Johnson’s] nobility, his inspiration shine forth from these pages, setting moral and artistic standards.” Los Angeles Times



From the Trade Paperback edition.
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“A canonical collection, splendidly and sensitively edited by Rudolph Byrd.”
–Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

One of the leading voices of the Harlem Resaissance and a crucial literary figure of his time, James Weldon Johnson was also an editor, songwriter, founding member and leader of the NAACP, and the first African American to hold a diplomatic post as consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua. This comprehensive volume of Johnson’s works includes the seminal novel Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, poems from God’s Trombones, essays on cultural and political topics, selections from Johnson’s autobiography, Along This Way, and two previously unpublished short plays: Do You Believe in Ghosts? and The Engineer. Featuring a chronology, bibliography, and a Foreword by acclaimed author Charles Johnson, this Modern Library edition showcases the tremendous range of James Weldon Johnson’s writings and their considerable influence on American civic and cultural life.

“This collection of poetry, fiction, criticism, autobiography, political writing and two unpublished plays by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) spans 60 years of pure triumph over adversity. [….Johnson’s] nobility, his inspiration shine forth from these pages, setting moral and artistic standards.” Los Angeles Times



From the Trade Paperback edition.
Product Details
eBook (352 pages)
Published: June 22, 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Modern Library
ISBN: 9780307796868
Other books byJames Weldon Johnson
  • The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

    The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
    First published anonymously in 1912, The Autobiography of an Ex- Colored Man has electrified readers ever since with its stark portrayal of the color line in America and its daring modernist style. Now The Library of America presents an annotated centennial edition, introduced by National Book Award Winner Charles R. Johnson (Middle Passage).

    Fifty Years and Other Poems

    Fifty Years and Other Poems
    James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was an American author whose work extended into politics, poetry, journalism, teaching, music and civil rights activism. He is most famous for his book "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man", which he published anonymously in 1912. Johnson's works deal with issues of race, particularly slavery, lynching, black rights and interracial relationships. His first collection of poetry, "Fifty Years and Other Poems", was published in 1913 to mark the fifty-year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The work was comprised of traditional and dialect poetry, and introduced arguments that would later be influential in the Civil Rights movement. The collection includes "Fifty Years," an homage to Abraham Lincoln, the protest poems "To America" and "Brothers," and a section entitled "Jingles and Croons" that touch on somewhat more temporal and humorous subjects, but continue to portray Johnson's serious, fervent beliefs.

    Lift Every Voice and Sing

    Lift Every Voice and Sing
    Selected Poems
    This selection of more than forty poems from a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance includes both uncompromising indictments of racial injustice and celebrations of the triumphs of African-Americans.

    Along This Way

    Along This Way
    The Autobiography of James Weldon Johnson
    The autobiography of the celebrated African American writer and civil rights activist Published just four years before his death in 1938, James Weldon Johnson's autobiography is a fascinating portrait of an African American who broke the racial divide at a time when the Harlem Renaissance had not yet begun to usher in the civil rights movement. Not only an educator, lawyer, and diplomat, Johnson was also one of the most revered leaders of his time, going on to serve as the first black president of the NAACP (which had previously been run only by whites), as well as write the groundbreaking novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. Beginning with his birth in Jacksonville, Florida, and detailing his education, his role in the Harlem Renaissance, and his later years as a professor and civil rights reformer, Along This Way is an inspiring classic of African American literature.

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