Overview

“A canonical collection, splendidly and sensitively edited by Rudolph Byrd.”
–Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

One of the leading voices of the Harlem Resaissance and a crucial literary figure of his time, James Weldon Johnson was also an editor, songwriter, founding member and leader of the NAACP, and the first African American to hold a diplomatic post as consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua. This comprehensive volume of Johnson’s works includes the seminal novel Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, poems from God’s ...
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The Essential Writings of James Weldon Johnson

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Overview

“A canonical collection, splendidly and sensitively edited by Rudolph Byrd.”
–Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

One of the leading voices of the Harlem Resaissance and a crucial literary figure of his time, James Weldon Johnson was also an editor, songwriter, founding member and leader of the NAACP, and the first African American to hold a diplomatic post as consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua. This comprehensive volume of Johnson’s works includes the seminal novel Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, poems from God’s Trombones, essays on cultural and political topics, selections from Johnson’s autobiography, Along This Way, and two previously unpublished short plays: Do You Believe in Ghosts? and The Engineer. Featuring a chronology, bibliography, and a Foreword by acclaimed author Charles Johnson, this Modern Library edition showcases the tremendous range of James Weldon Johnson’s writings and their considerable influence on American civic and cultural life.

“This collection of poetry, fiction, criticism, autobiography, political writing and two unpublished plays by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) spans 60 years of pure triumph over adversity. [….Johnson’s] nobility, his inspiration shine forth from these pages, setting moral and artistic standards.” Los Angeles Times



From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Best known for writing the lyrics to "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the black national anthem, Johnson (1871-1938) was the master of many genres-fiction, drama, poetry, and essays. This anthology highlights his many contributions to the canon.


—Ann Burns
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307796868
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/22/2011
  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)–novelist, poet, lawyer, editor, ethno-musicologist–was also the co-author (with his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson) of the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” widely accepted as the “Negro National Anthem.”

Rudolph P. Byrd is professor of American studies and founding director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University. His books include Charles Johnson’s Novels: Writing the American Palimpsest.

Charles Johnson is the National Book Award-winning author of Middle Passage and Dreamer.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Table of Contents

Foreword Charles Johnson Johnson, Charles

Introduction Rudolph P. Byrd Byrd, Rudolph P.

James Weldon Johnson: A Chronology

The Essential Writings of James Weldon Johnson

Pt. 1 Drama

Do You Believe in Ghosts? 6

The Engineer 11

Pt. 2 Fiction

The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man 29

Pt. 3 Poetry

Sence You Went Away 149

Lift Every Voice and Sing 150

Fifty Years 152

The Creation 156

Noah Built the Ark 160

The Judgment Day 166

Saint Peter Relates an Incident of the Resurrection Day 170

Pt. 4 Cultural Criticism

Native African Races and Culture 181

The Dilemma of the Negro Author 201

Race Prejudice and the Negro Artist 209

Pt. 5 Autobiography

Selections from Along This way 230

Pt. 6 Political Writing

Negro Americans, What Now? 271

Selected Bibliography 319

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