James Weldon Johnson was an American civil rights activist, school principal and writer.
According to Grand Old Partisan, in 1900, he wrote the poem Lift Every Voice and Sing to honor Republican activist Booker T. Washington when the civil rights leader visited his school.
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His brother set the words to music, resulting in what became known as the ‘Negro National Anthem’.
Johnson’s political activism began with denouncing Democrats for lynching African-Americans.