James Weldon Johnson

(1871-1938 / Florida/United States)

Quotations

  • ''It is from the blues that all that may be called American music derives its most distinctive character.''
    James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), U.S. author, poet. Black Manhattan, ch. 11 (1930).
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  • ''O black and unknown bards of long ago, How came your lips to touch the sacred fire?''
    James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), U.S. author, poet. "O Black and Unknown Bards," st. 1 (written c. 1907), publ. In Fifty Years and Other Poems (1917). Opening lines.

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A Banjo Song

W'en de banjos wuz a-ringin',
An' de darkies wuz a-singin',
Oh, wuzen dem de good times sho!
All de ole folks would be chattin',
An' de pickaninnies pattin',
As dey heah'd de feet a-shufflin' 'cross de flo'.

An' how we'd dance, an' how we'd sing!
Dance tel de day done break.

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