Along This Way (Twentieth Century Classics)

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9780140184013: Along This Way (Twentieth Century Classics)

In this autobiography, Johnson provides a window into life as a black man in the United States, describing race relations battles and his own triumph over prejudice. He became a professor at Fisk University, served as consul in Nicaragua and Venezuela and was the first black executive of the NAACP.

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About the Author:

James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) was an American author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, and early civil rights activist. Johnson is remembered best for his leadership within the NAACP, as well as for his writing, which includes novels, poems, and collections of folklore. He was also one of the first African-American professors at New York University. Later in life he was a professor of creative literature and writing at Fisk University. During a six-year stay in Hispanic America he completed his most famous book The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man which was published anonymously in 1912. It was only during 1927 that Johnson admitted his authorship — stressing that it was not a work of autobiography but mostly fictional. Other works include The Book of American Negro Spirituals (1925), Black Manhattan (1930), his exploration of the contribution of African-Americans to the culture of New York, and Negro Americans, What Now? (1934), a book advocating civil rights for African Americans. Johnson was also an anthologist. His anthologies concerned African-American themes and were part of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. He also wrote the melody for the song Dem Bones.

About the Author:

James Weldon Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1871. Among the first to break through the barriers segregating his race, he was educated at Atlanta University and at Columbia and was the first black admitted to the Florida bar. He was also, for a time, a songwriter in New York, American consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua, executive secretary of the NAACP, and professor of creative literature at Fisk University--experiences recorded in his autobiography, Along This Way. Other books by him include Saint Peter Relates an Incident, Black Manhattan, and God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse. In addition to his own writing, Johnson was the editor of pioneering anthologies of black American poetry and spirituals. He died in 1938. William L. Andrews is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of To Tell a Free Story and editor or coeditor of more than thirty books on African American literature.

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Johnson, James Weldon
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