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Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

James Weldon Johnson Playground

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


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 first African American-oriented daily newspaper, The Daily American, and in 1898 became an attorney and 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 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 Hymn.” After a 1901 fire ravaged Jacksonville and burned down the Stanton school, Johnson decided to take his assortment of talents elsewhere and moved to

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Directions to James Weldon Johnson Playground

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