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James Weldon Johnson

(1871 - 1938)

Every time the NAACP sings its national anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, it honors a black Republican, James Weldon Johnson. This inspirational song, which was also adopted in the 1940's by millions of black Americans as the Negro National Anthem, was written in 1900 by Johnson in collaboration with his talented musician brother, John Rosamond Johnson, to commemorate President Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

The NAACP itself was founded on President Lincoln's 100th birthday, February 12, 1909, by white Republicans who opposed the racist practices of the Democratic Party and the lynching of blacks by Democrats.

Johnson, who was born and educated in Jacksonville, Florida, served as field secretary for the NAACP in 1916 when he was offered the position by Joel E. Springham after attending the Armenia Conference on racial issues. In 1920, Johnson became the general secretary of the NAACP, the first black man to hold that office. He resigned from his position with the NAACP in 1930 after serving the organization for nearly 15 years.

After Johnson moved to New York in 1902 and became active in the Colored Republican Club of New York, he was appointed to the post of United States Consul in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt. Johnson transferred to a similar post in Corinto, Nicaragua in 1909. His role in helping the United States Marines defeat the rebels when a revolution broke out in Nicaragua in 1912 earned Johnson wide acclaim.

In 1914, after Democrat President Woodrow Wilson from Virginia was elected, Johnson resigned from the U.S. Consular Service because he believed that there would be little opportunities for black Americans in Wilson's administration. President Wilson subsequently dismissed all black American federal officials. During Wilson's presidency, the Democrat-controlled Congress introduced the greatest number of bills proposing racial segregation and discrimination than had ever been introduced before.

The Daily American, the first black American-owned newspaper, was founded by Johnson in 1895. In the newspaper, which lasted for less than a year, Johnson addressed racial injustice, and, in keeping with his Republican values, asserted a self-help philosophy that was shared by Booker T. Washington. He also argued for the merits of racial integration and cooperation in both his newspaper and later literary works. While serving as the principal of Stanton Elementary School in Jacksonville, Johnson studied law under a white lawyer named Thomas A. Ledwith, and, in 1898, became the first black American to pass the Florida bar examination.

Johnson was a songwriter, poet, civil rights leader, and novelist. He was most likely better known for his literary works in the 1920's during the golden era of black culture and writing, known as the Harlem Renaissance, than he was for his leadership of the NAACP. He was a mentor for young writers during that time, including Langston Hughes.

Among Johnson's works is The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, a novel about a black man who passed for white, published anonymously in 1912 and reissued in 1927 under his own name. He wrote his autobiography Along the Way in 1933, but his most celebrated work is The Book of American Negro Poetry published in 1922 that helped define what became known as the Harlem Renaissance. He and his musically talented brother, John, became a successful songwriting team on Broadway with Bob Cole, writing such hit songs as Nobody's Lookin' but de Owl and de Moon in 1901, Under the Bamboo Tree in 1902 and Congo Love Song in 1903.

Although he died tragically in an automobile accident in 1938 while on vacation in Maine, he is remembered for his dedication to serving his fellow human beings and his unfailing integrity.

Information about Johnson's life can be found in his papers in Yale university's Beinecke Library. The Library of Congress also has manuscripts about Johnson, including the NAACP Collection and the Booker T. Washington Papers. A comprehensive biography is James Weldon Johnson: Black Leader, Black Voice by Eugene Levy published in 1973. An essay about Johnson written by Robert E. Fleming at the University of New Mexico and published in the Literary Encyclopedia on January 8, 2001 can be found on the Internet at .
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And Black CONservatives/Black Republicans sing what anthem today? Let's see...

The National Black Republican Association (NBRA) is dedicated to promoting the traditional values of the black community which are in concert with the core Republican Party philosophy of strong families, personal responsibility, quality education and equal opportunities for all. This focus on shared values gives the NBRA a unique perspective and influence in shaping public policy debates on issues of importance to the black community.

Hmmm.... What was that about being unique? ORIGINAL?

For some reason their interpretation of the word, ORIGINAL, doesn't reflect the actual meaning of the word:

  • of, relating to, or constituting an origin or beginning

  • not secondary, derivative, or *imitative*

  • being the first instance

  • independent and creative in thought or action

    Now, I can reserve my judgement and philosophical disagreements if NBRA et al actually approached Booker T's TUSKEGEE type of contribution. But they're hardly singing that type of anthem. They're singing somebody else's song. Let's see them do a biography on that songwriter.
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    They're singing somebody else's song.


    If Black Conservatives are "signing someone else's song" could you tell me on what point the Black Democrats who have a quasi-socialist track record differs from the core tenants of the Democratic Party?

    Last year prior to the election I listened to a conference on C-SPAN in which all of the LEFT WING civil rights organizations (NRA considers itself a civil rights organization) gathered together to put forth their agenda.

    There was the NAACP sitting next to the National Organization for Women, Lambda Legal Defense League (gay rights) and a few other organizations.

    This meeting showed me how far to the left that the NAACP has strayed in these past few years. From the seismic announcement that the organization now has an official position in support of Abortion to the views of their leftwing CEO (Bond) who's views are much farther to the left than the average Black person - it is clear to me that YOU CAN'T TELL ME THAT THIS ORGANIZATION IS "IT'S OWN MAN".

    In 2000 they created the "NAACP Voter Education Fund" that was created from a $9 million injection from the Democrats. The splinter organization that was created due to prohibitions per the tax laws in having the main org participate in political activities was lead by the same people of the main org and the main org felt comfortable in lending it's name to this new entity.

    I believe that you would be best NOT to talk about echoing someone else's views. There is a long, long track record of this on the Black political left. In my view Jesse and Al when they say "WE" I don't know if they are talking about "We Blacks" or "We Democrats".
    I am curious as to who wrote this piece, and when.

    The implication that James Weldon Johnson having been a Republican when he wrote the song is relevant today is sophomoric.

    I do find it interesting that this informed writer apparently considers the NAACP not only a nation, but having 'national anthem'.

    Such ignorance is beginning to loose patience with such ignorance.

    Try a 'one-time-through' of this to help get your bearings:

    It is truly sad that we don't know what our national anthem represents sufficient to even describe properly.

    What an insult.

    Who is this person?


    Jim Chester
    In my view Jesse and Al when they say "WE" I don't know if they are talking about "We Blacks" or "We Democrats".
    And Jesse and Al have what to do with me??

    What part of that other thread about "conservativism" don't you understand?

    The other viewpoint was established by a Jamaican-born rival of DuBois named Marcus Garvey. Garvey preached the "Back to Africa" philosophy between 1915 and 1925, and he castigated the newly formed NAACP for its association with and its reliance upon white philanthropy and white political power.
    You quoted that yet you still fix your mouth to pose some silly ass questions to me.

    I'm still conflicted... PUNK or PUSSY? Which one are you?

    And ummm... NBRA and Project 21 are explicitly talking about REPUBLICANS and/or CONSERVATIVES.

    Ain't no "we" Blacks in nothing they do, despite rhetoric, like yours, that play heavily on "WE" because your PUNK (or is it pussy?) want to feel as if your TEST TUBE ass belongs. And what's more, you want to lead with no vision, no agenda. Just BS RHETORIC!!

    PROOF that you are on some partisan BULLSHIT!! Yeah, let's talk about that LONG Track Record.

    That socialist BULLSHIT has some play among the WHITES you DEFER to. Once again, the common denominator is, "How dare a Negro be confrontational." Somehow, with all that White funding the NAACP, etc. still made for a decidely "good" track record, accomplishing things for Black people that you know Black CONservatives/Politically Conservative Blacks can't say shit about.

    Of course, the word for you is MUM. It's hard to even have something to say when you're born in the White Conservative Laboratories of America.

    Oh and you can drop the HIJACKED angle. We've already been there. And you've already ran your PUNK ass (or is it pussy?) away from your CONTRADICTIONS and BULLSHIT RHETORIC that you can't back-up.
    CON-Feed? What else you got besides WOLF TICKETS? I'm sure you're about out. I need to know what else I can take from your punk ass.

    And, please... please... please... Back Away From The LOGICAL FALLACY - Tu Quoque. And one for the road:
    CON-Feed asked:

    Am I a "sellout" or a PIONEER - Nmaginate?
    I still conflicted... PUNK or PUSSY?
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