James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 – June 26, 1938); Johnson was a well accomplished leader, diplomat and author during the mid-1930’s and 40’s. Born in Jacksonville, Florida moved to New York City after attending Atlanta University. He became a well known poet and novelist during the Harlem Renaissance Era, the Executive Director of the NAACP and was appointed to a foreign service post by President Theodore Roosevelt.
When Johnson was near retirement, he taught literature at Fisk University. Johnson died on this day in Maine in 1938.
Free Download of the “Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man”
by James Weldon Johnson
Lift Every Voice and Sing – James Weldon Johnson
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
let our rejoicing rise,
high as the list’ning skies, let it resound loud as the rolling sea
sing a song full of faith that the dark past has tought us,
sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod,
bitter the chast’ning rod,
felt in the day that hope unborn had died;
yet with a steady beat,
have not our weary feet,
come to the place on witch our fathers sighed?
we have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
where the white gleam of our star is cast.
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
thou who has by thy might,
led us into the light,
keep us forever in the path, we pray
lest our feet stray frm the places, our God, where we met thee,
least our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee,
shadowed beneath the hand,
may we forever stand,
tru to our God,
Tru to our native land.