Today is the birthday of James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), the first black head of the NAACP, diplomat, political activist, teacher, novelist, poet, historian, editor, lecturer, key promoter of the Harlem Renaissance and co-founder of the ACLU. Johnson was a hero of the “Red Summer” of 1919 and one of the leading civil rights activists of the early 20th Century.
“I will not allow one prejudiced person or one million or one hundred million to blight my life. I will not let prejudice or any of its attendant humiliations and injustices bear me down to spiritual defeat.”
— from Johnson’s Negro Americans, What Now?
Here is my just published review for the Harvard Review Online of Emily Bernard’s book, CARL VAN VECHTEN AND THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE: A PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE.
Watch the February 2013 talk at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria here.
Great visiting at NOVA’s Alexandria campus today and talking with students and staff, especially Prof. Shonette Grant, who organized the event.
I’ll be giving a talk on the Red Summer at NOVA at 2 p.m. on Feb. 19. Looking forward to talking with students and faculty about the book.
For location, click here.
“McWhirter’s book is thoroughly researched, listing an impressive thirty-four libraries and archives in the bibliography, and its author displays a keen knowledge of the literature on race produced during the Red Summer era and since…Using a journalist’s clipped sentences and dividing the chapters into short sections, McWhirter packed in as much human drama as possible to vividly explicate the tangled web of economic, political, and cultural factors at work in the conflagration…The book deserves wide readership.”
–Adam J. Hodges
Interesting blog for the project, which seeks to mark locations of historical importance relating to the slave trade, discusses Red Summer in a post here.
Reviewer Claude Ury gives it five out of five stars. Read here.
Great crowd and productive two-hour discussion (and nice lunch afterward) at the Jeff Maxwell Library in Augusta. Thanks so much to everyone who came out and thanks to the library’s book club for organizing.