James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson was born in Jacksonville, 1871. He trained in music and in 1901 moved to New York with his brother John; together they wrote around two hundred songs for Broadway. His first book, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, published anonymously in 1912, was not a great success until he reissued it in his own name in 1927. In that time he established his reputation as a writer and became known in the Harlem Renaissance for his poems and for collating anthologies of poems by other black writers. Through his work as a civil rights activist he became the first executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as the first African American professor to be hired at New York University. He died in 1938.