James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 – June 26, 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.
Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, the son of Helen Louise Dillet and James Johnson. His brother was the composer John Rosamond Johnson. Johnson was first ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
James Weldon Johnson Poems
And God stepped out on space, And he looked around and said: I'm lonely-- I'll make me a world.
Go Down, Death
Weep not, weep not, She is not dead; She's resting in the bosom of Jesus. Heart-broken husband--weep no more;
Lift Every Voice And Sing
Lift ev'ry voice and sing, Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise
Listen, Lord: A Prayer
O Lord, we come this morning Knee-bowed and body-bent Before Thy throne of grace. O Lord--this morning--
A Mid-Day Dreamer
I love to sit alone, and dream, And dream, and dream; In fancy's boat to softly glide Along some stream
A Poet To His Baby Son
Tiny bit of humanity, Blessed with your mother’s face, And cursed with your father’s mind.
The hand of Fate cannot be stayed, The course of Fate cannot be steered, By all the gods that man has made, Nor all the devils he has feared,
Look heah! 'Splain to me de reason Why you said to Squire Lee, Der wuz twelve ole chicken thieves
Beauty That Is Never Old
When buffeted and beaten by life's storms, When by the bitter cares of life oppressed, I want no surer haven than your arms,
Father, Father Abraham
(On the Anniversary of Lincoln's Birth) Father, Father Abraham, Today look on us from above;
See! There he stands; not brave, but with an air Of sullen stupor. Mark him well! Is he Not more like brute than man? Look in his eye!
I Hear The Stars Still Singing
I hear the stars still singing To the beautiful, silent night, As they speed with noiseless winging
And The Greatest Of These Is War
Around the council-board of Hell, with Satan at their head, The Three Great Scourges of humanity sat.
Brer Rabbit You's De Cutes' Of 'Em All
Once der was a meetin' in de wilderness, All de critters of creation dey was dar; Brer Rabbit, Brer 'Possum, Brer Wolf, Brer Fox,
Quotationsmore quotations »
''It is from the blues that all that may be called American music derives its most distinctive character.''James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), U.S. author, poet. Black Manhattan, ch. 11 (1930).
''O black and unknown bards of long ago, How came your lips to touch the sacred fire?''James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), U.S. author, poet. "O Black and Unknown Bards," st. 1 (written c. 1907), publ. In Fifty Years and Other Poems (1917)...
And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I'll make me a world.
And far as the eye of God could see
Darkness covered everything,
Blacker than a hundred midnights
Down in a cypress swamp.
Then God smiled,
And the light broke,
And the darkness rolled up on one side,
And the light stood shining on the other,
And God said: That's good!
Then God reached out and took the light in his hands,
And God rolled the light around in his hands
Until he made the sun;
And he set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.