James Weldon Johnson was born in Florida in 1871 and educated in a Jacksonville, Florida, segregated public school. After graduating in 1887, he enrolled in preparatory school at Atlanta University because Jacksonville did not have a high school for African American students. After preparatory school Johnson went on to graduate from Atlanta University. In 1894 he returned to Jacksonville as principal of his former school, where he initiated two additional grades beyond the eighth grade.

While teaching and presiding over the school, Johnson founded the Daily American, an African American newspaper, and studied law, passing the Florida bar examination in 1898. He also collaborated with his brother Rosamond as a song writer. In 1900 the brothers produced “Lift Every Voice and Sing”,

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Citation: Fleming, Robert E.. "James Weldon Johnson". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2380, accessed 26 May 2024.]

2380 James Weldon Johnson 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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