Black and white photograph of poet, diplomat, and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson.

James Weldon Johnson

(1871 - 1938)

The lawyer, Broadway songwriter, poet, and civil rights activist worked on Theodore Roosevelt’s 1904 presidential campaign, later serving as U.S. consul at Puerto Cabello, Venezuela and at Corinto, Nicaragua. He anonymously published his only novel, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, in 1912, joined the staff of the NAACP in 1916, and was a leading member of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. He died in 1938 in a car accident in Maine. 

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