NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

James Weldon Johnson Playground

E. 115 St. bet. 3 Ave. and Lexington Ave.

Manhattan

Directions via Google Maps

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was an African American intellectual of broad interests and accomplishments who was associated with the Harlem Renaissance.  After graduating from Atlanta University in 1894, Johnson accepted the post of principal of the Stanton school in Jacksonville, Florida. The following year he founded the The Daily American, a newspaper dedicated to issues important to the black community. In 1897, he became the first African American to be accepted into the Florida Bar since Reconstruction. During these years, he also studied music and collaborated with his brother John Rosamond in the composition of several songs and operettas. In 1900, to commemorate Lincoln’s birthday, he wrote the poem “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which was later adopted by the NAACP as the “Negro National Anthem.”

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Directions to James Weldon Johnson Playground

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