Georgia Douglas Johnson
Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson better known as Georgia Douglas Johnson (
September 10, 1880- May 14, 1966) was an American poet.
Johnson was born in Atlanta to Laura Douglass and George Camp [http://voices.cla.umn.edu/vg/Bios/entries/johnson_georgia_douglas.html] (her mother's last name is listed in other sources as Jackson) [http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.com/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-989] [http://womenshistory.about.com/od/harlemrenaissance/p/georgia_johnson.htm] . Her mother was a black and Native American woman who married a man of African-American and English heritage [http://womenshistory.about.com/od/harlemrenaissance/p/georgia_johnson.htm] .
Much of Johnson's childhood was spent in
Rome, Georgia. She received her education in both Rome and Atlanta, where she excelled in reading, recitations and physical education. She also taught herself to play the violin, which developed into a lifelong love of music.
Johnson graduated from
Atlanta University's Normal School in 1893. She taught school in Marietta, Georgiafor a time, then returned to Atlanta to work as an assistant principal. Johnson then traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, to study piano, harmony, and voice. From 1902 to 1903, she attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
September 28, 1903, Johnson married Henry Lincoln Johnson, an Atlanta lawyer and prominent Republican party member. They had two sons, Henry Lincoln Johnson, Jr. and Peter Douglas Johnson (d. 1957).
It was during this period that Johnson began to write poems and stories. Johnson credits a poem written by
William Stanley Braithwaiteabout a rose tended by a child in Brooklyn, New York, as her inspiration for her poetic output. She began to submit her poems to newspapers and small magazines. She published her first poem in 1916, when she was thirty-six. She published four volumes of poetry, beginning in 1918 with "The Heart of a Woman". Johnson also wrote songs, taught music, and performed as an organist at her Congregational church during this period.
Johnson's husband accepted an appointment as the
Recorder of Deedsfrom United States President William Howard Taft, and the family moved to Washington, D.C., where she would reside for the last fifty years of her life. Johnson's husband died in 1925, and, as a gesture of appreciation for her husband's loyalty and service to the Republican party, President Calvin Coolidgeappointed Johnson as the Commissioner of Conciliationin the Department of Labor.
Soon after her husband's death, Johnson hosted weekly Saturday-night open houses for other authors, including
Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Anne Spencer, Richard Bruce Nugent, Alain Locke, Jessie Redmon Fausetand Eulalie Spence—all major contributors to the New Negro Movement, which is better known today as the Harlem Renaissance.
She was a close friend of the writer
Angelina Weld Grimke. She died in Washington, D.C. in 1966.
*"The Heart of a Woman" (1918)
*"An Autumn Love Cycle" (1928)
*"Share My World" (1962)
*"A Sunday Morning in the South" (1925)
*Shockley, Ann Allen, "Afro-American Women Writers 1746-1933: An Anthology and Critical Guide", New Haven, Connecticut: Meridian Books, 1989. ISBN 0-452-00981-2
* [http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/g_l/douglas-johnson/johnson.htm Modern American Poetry Profile of Georgia Douglas Johnson]
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