Cover image for Writings
Title:
Writings
Author:
Johnson, James Weldon, 1871-1938.
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections. 2004
Publication Information:
New York : Library of America : Distributed to the trade in the United States by Penguin Putnam, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
x, 906 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 21 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
The autobiography of an ex-colored man -- Along this way -- New York Age editorials -- Selected essays -- Black Manhattan -- Selected poems.
Added Corporate Author:
Added Title:
Autobiography of an ex-colored man.

Along this way.

New York Age editorials.

Black Manhattan.
ISBN:
9781931082525
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
PS3519.O2625 A6 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

James Weldon Johnson's career was one of extraordinary range, spanning the worlds of diplomacy (as U.S. consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua), politics (as Secretary of the NAACP), journalism (as founder of one newspaper and longtime editor of another), musical theater (as lyricist for the Broadway songwriting team of Cole and Johnson Brothers), and literature (as novelist, poet, and anthologist). At the dawning of what would become the modern civil rights movement, he forged a record of accomplishment that defied the odds. The Library of America now presents a collection of his writings that displays the many facets of a complex and impassioned writer.

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912), Johnson's first book, is a novel that on its original anonymous publication was taken by many for an actual memoir. A groundbreaking work of modern fiction, it powerfully describes the inner development of a gifted, socially alienated man as he tries to come to terms with the constraints of racism.

Along This Way (1933) is Johnson's genial and enthralling account of his fantastically busy life, with a cast of characters including W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Clarence Darrow, Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Carl Van Vechten, and many others.

A selection of shorter prose--editorials from The New York Age , political essays, literary prefaces, an excerpt from the historical study Black Manhattan --confirms the variety of Johnson's interests, as he comments on figures and topics including Jack Johnson, Marcus Garvey, Woodrow Wilson, lynching, anti-Japanese discrimination in California, American involvement in Haiti, changing trends in theater and poetry, and the significance of spirituals.

Johnson's poetry is represented by the full text of God's Trombones (1927), his stirring homage to African-American preaching, and shorter works including "O Black and Unknown Bards," lyrics from Johnson's Broadway songwriting days, and "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the hymn often referred to as the "Negro National Anthem."

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.


Author Notes

Born in Jacksonville Fla. in 1871, James Weldon Johnson was one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. His career was varied and included periods as a teacher, lawyer, songwriter (with his brother J. Rosamond Johnson), and diplomat (as United States Consul to Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, from 1906 to 1909).

Among his most famous writings are Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, published anonymously in 1912, and God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (1927), the winner of the Harmon Gold Award. He was also editor of several anthologies of African-American poetry and spirituals, and in 1933 his autobiography, Along This Way, was published.

He served as Secretary to the NAACP from 1916 to 1930 and was a professor of literature at Fisk University in Nashville from 1930 until his death in 1938.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The Library of America's latest offering combines the author's noted 1912 novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and his 1933 autobiography Along This Way plus numerous essays and his New York Age editorials covering a plethora of subjects. Top shelf. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.