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Synopsis: "[...]many of my mates, but, on the whole, was about as popular as it is good for a boy to be. One day near the end of my second term at school the principal came into our room and, after talking to the teacher, for some reason said: "I wish all of the white scholars to stand for a moment." I rose with the others. The teacher looked at me and, calling my name, said: "You sit down for the present, and rise with the others." I did not quite understand her, and questioned: "Ma'm?" She repeated, with a softer tone in her voice: "You sit down now, and rise with the others." I sat down dazed. I saw and heard nothing. When the others were asked to rise, I did not know it. When school was dismissed, I went out in a kind of stupor. A few of the white[...]".
About the Author: James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 - June 26, 1938) was an American author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, and early civil rights activist. Johnson is remembered best for his writing, which includes novels, poems, and collections of folklore. He was also one of the first African-American professors at New York University. Later in life he was a professor of creative literature and writing at Fisk University. During his six-year stay in Hispanic America he completed his most famous book The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man which was published anonymously in 1912. It was only during 1927 that Johnson admitted his authorship - stressing that it was not a work of autobiography but mostly fictional. Other works include The Book of American Negro Spirituals (1925), Black Manhattan (1930), his exploration of the contribution of African-Americans to the culture of New York, and Negro Americans, What Now? (1934), a book advocating civil rights for African Americans. Johnson was also an anthologist. His anthologies concerned African-American themes and were part of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. He also wrote the melody for the song Dem Bones. In 1922, he edited The Book of American Negro Poetry, which the Academy of American Poets calls "a major contribution to the history of African-American literature." One of the works for which he is best remembered today, God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, was published in 1927 and celebrates the tradition of the folk preacher. In 1917, Johnson published 50 Years and Other Poems.
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