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The Colonial Period to 1900
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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division

James Weldon Johnson

Many children of Caribbean immigrants became prominent in African-American cultural and political life. One of them was James Weldon Johnson (1871 - 1938), born in Jacksonville, Florida, of Bahamian parents. Educated at Atlanta and Columbia universities, Johnson was truly a Renaissance figure. He was an educator, lawyer, a lyricist who penned the Black Anthem "Lift Ev'ry Voice," editorial writer, university professor, novelist, poet, author, diplomat, and executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He is perhaps best remembered for his activism for black civil rights and his contributions, as an artist and a patron, to the cultural movement of the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance.

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