Johnson was born June 17,1871 in Jacksonville, Florida to James and Helen Louise Johnson. Johnson's father, James Johnson, was born a freeman and was of mixed ancestry. Even though, he is no longer living, James Weldon Johnson has left much about his contributions to African American literature. He was a writer, diplomat, professor, and editor, who also described himself as a man of letters and a civil rights leader. He was the author of the Black National Anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and he will always be remembered for his great contributions not only to blacks, but also to America.
She was the first black American to teach in the state of Florida. Mrs. Helen also taught her son to play the guitar (Otfinoski 22). Johnson was born the second of three children: John Rosamond, also known as "Rozy," and a sister that died shortly after birth (Logan and Winston, "
During his first few years of school he attended, Stanton,