This Day in Black History: June 26, 1938

Author, songwriter and composer of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" James Weldon Johnson died.

Posted: 06/26/2014 12:00 AM EDT
James Weldon Johnson died on June 26, 1938.

(Photo: Courtesy The New York Public Library)

Prolific author, diplomat, poet, songwriter and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson died on June 26, 1938. Johnson is credited with co-writing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which became known as the Negro National Anthem, and he also served as general secretary of the NAACP.

Born on June 17, 1871, in Jacksonville, Florida, Johnson was educated at Atlanta University, where he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma, and later U.S. Consul to Venezuela. During his time abroad, he wrote his most popular novel, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. He later published several other titles, including his autobiography, Along This Way: The Autobiography of James Weldon Johnson, in 1933.

Johnson’s accomplishments made him a symbolic figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and his Harlem funeral was reportedly attended by more than 2,000 mourners.

BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Get ready for the BET Experience, featuring Mary J. BligeMaxwellJill ScottA$AP RockyRick Ross and many more. Click here for more details and info on how to purchase tickets.

Videos You May Like

From Our Partners