Publication Information


Original Listing

Paul Laurence Dunbar, Li'l' Gal

Biographical Information

(1873-1954) John Rosamond Johnson was a composer, conductor, pianist, and actor. He studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston as well as briefly in Europe. The NAACP adopted his tune "Lift Up Ev'ry Voice and Sing" (1899) as the "Negro National Anthem.” Johnson toured as a vocalist with the company of Oriental America. He began his career as a music teacher in Jacksonville public schools but in 1899 moved to New York with his brother, James Weldon, to pursue a career in show business. Later he teamed up with Robert "Bob" Cole and they wrote and published more than 200 songs together with Brother James Weldon joining them later. In 1912, Oscar Hammerstein appointed Johnson as musical director of the Grand Opera House in London. In 1918 while in New York, he and his wife started the Music School Settlement for Colored People. In 1935. Johnson appeared in what would become the classical musical Porgy and Bess.