James Weldon Johnson: Fifty Years and Other Poems

(520 words)

Fifty Years and Other Poems (1917) was the first book of poetry published by James Weldon Johnson. The book collected poetry that Johnson had been writing since his years as a student at Atlanta University and ranged from serious racial protests to amusing dialect poems which Johnson grouped at the end of the volume under the heading “Jingles and Croons”.

The title poem, “Fifty Years”, was written to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation officially outlawing slavery in the USA and first appeared in the New York Times on January 1, 1913. Reflecting Johnson's moderate approach to racial reform, the poem both praised the strides that had been made by African Americans since the r…

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Fleming, Robert E.. "Fifty Years and Other Poems". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 October 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5154, accessed 01 October 2016.]