Georgia Douglas Johnson
Early life and education
Johnson was born in Atlanta to Laura Douglas and George Camp (her mother's last name is listed in other sources as Jackson). Her mother was of African and Native American descent, and her father was of African-American and English heritage.
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 1896. She taught school in Marietta, Georgia for 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.
Marriage and family
On 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).
Johnson's husband accepted an appointment as the Recorder of Deeds from United States President William Howard Taft, and the family moved to Washington, D.C. in 1910. It was during this period that Johnson began to write poems and stories. Johnson credits a poem written by William Stanley Braithwaite about a rose tended by a child, as her inspiration for her poems.
She began to submit 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.
There Johnson lived for the last fifty years of her life. Johnson's husband died in 1925. She struggled at first with some temporary jobs. As a gesture of appreciation for her husband's loyalty and service to the Republican party, President Calvin Coolidge appointed Johnson as the Commissioner of Conciliation in the Department of Labor.
Soon after her husband's death, Johnson began to host what became forty years of weekly "Saturday Salons", for friends and authors, including Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Anne Spencer, Richard Bruce Nugent, Alain Locke, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Angelina Weld Grimke and Eulalie Spence— all major contributors to the New Negro Movement, which is better known today as the Harlem Renaissance. She was especially close to the writer Angelina Grimke. Johnson called her home the "Half Way House" for friends traveling, and a place where they "could freely discuss politics and personal opinions."
She died in Washington, D.C., in 1966.
In September 2009, it was announced that Johnson would be inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.
- The Heart of a Woman (1916)
- Bronze (1922)
- An Autumn Love Cycle (1928)
- A Sunday Morning in the South (1925)
- Share My World (1962)
- 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
- "Georgia Douglas Johnson." www.voices.cla.umn.edu. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- "Georgia Johnson." New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- "Georgia Johnson." www.about.com. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- "Writers hall picks four inductees". Online Athens (Athens Banner Herald). September 19, 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
- "Georgia and Henry Lincoln Douglass, African-American Heritage Trail." www.culturaltourismdc.org. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
- Harold Bloom, ed., Black American Women Poets and Dramatists (New York: Chelsea House, 1996).
- Countee Cullen, ed., Caroling Dusk: An Anthology of Verse by Negro Poets (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1927).
- Gloria T. Hull, Color, Sex, and Poetry: Three Women Writers of the Harlem Renaissance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987).
- Judith Stephens, "'And Yet They Paused' and 'A Bill to Be Passed': Newly Recovered Lynching Dramas by Georgia Douglas Johnson", African American Review 33 (autumn 1999): 519-22.
- Judith Stephens, The Plays of Georgia Douglas Johnson:From The New Negro Renaissance to the Civil Rights Movement (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press,2006)
- C. C. O'Brien, Cosmopolitanism in Georgia Douglas Johnson's Anti-Lynching Literature (African American Review, Vol. 38, No. 4) (Winter, 2004), (pp. 571-587 published by: St. Louis University) http://www.jstor.org/stable/4134418